The Dark Zone: Avoid Night Shifts to Stay Healthy

Night shifts deprive you of the required amount of sleep. As a result, you will feel sleepy all the time. And when you get time to sleep, the body will refuse to shut down. If it prolongs, it will lead to mental depression, mood disorders, poor concentration memory, judgement and decision making to begin with. In the offing are health complications like stroke, ulcers, hypertension, heart and lipid disorders and sometimes even cancer.

Repay the sleep debt

Do night shifts if you must, but always remember to sleep well after that. This is how:

  • Try to avoid bright light after the shift; it helps in falling asleep as soon as you return from the shift.
  • Keep your eyes closed, and relax. You can use night goggles to avoid bright light.
  • Take a night off mid week if possible and compensate for lost sleep. Create a noise-free environment.
  • Do not disrupt the sleep clock.

Along with the above mentioned techniques, you need to watch your diet. Here’s what you should eat:

  • Eat healthy (Take fruits, veggie, water wherever possible).
  • Have plenty of foods and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants to rev up your immune system. Diet should comprise vegetables, egg whites, fruits, nuts and plenty of fluids.
  • Avoid excess salty, fatty, ad oily food and unwanted calories. Avoid junk food as far as possible. Remember you are prone to obesity and metabolic disorders by working in the night shifts.
  • Regular exercise will help alleviate fatigue, laziness and boredom and prevent lifestyle diseases.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and eat smaller meals during the day when awake. Avoid eating heavy meals before work.
  • Have healthy snacks at workplace.

Cancer Risk: Studies indicate that female night shift workers are at a higher risk of breast cancer.  It is believed that light suppresses the natural secretion of hormone in the pineal gland called melatonin, which has a role in regulating the oestrogen levels in the female body. Decreased secretion of melatonin leads to increased levels of oestrogen in the body, which in turn leads to growth of breast cancer cells.

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