The best diet plan for night shift workers
Working on a night shift can play with your body clock. As a matter of fact, arecent study that appeared in a US journal shows that individuals working on night shifts might be at a greater risk of obesity and other weight-related issues. The study showed that, compared to those following a traditional schedule, people working on night shifts burn lesser calories throughout the day. Researchers have known that individuals who work at night when their bodies are biologically prepared to sleep are liable to gain weight. Night work and graveyard shift create a misalignment between your internal clock and also the outside world. Sleep deprivation affects food choices—there is evidence that you simply are more likely to crave calorie-dense carbs, sugary food, and salty snacks —and limits your ability to process food.
So, who constitutes an evening shift worker?
Night shift generally refers to the later shift at any given business, but the precise hours vary from place to place. If a business is open 24/7, the night shift usually refers to a shift that starts between 10:00 p.m. and midnight and ends between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. For businesses that are open for limited hours, the night shift is the final shift before the business closes. If a business advertises an evening shift position, check their hours and clarify their expectations for somebody working a closing or night shift.
A systematic guide to a nutritious diet for night shift workers
1) Staying hydrated is the key- Staying well-hydrated is pertinent for regulating temperature, flushing waste and toxins from the body, and avoiding constipation. Keep sipping herbal tea. This way, you’re not only staying hydrated but also getting the advantages of the herbs. Needless to mention, keep one’s hands off milk tea, coffee and other caffeine-rich beverages. An excessive amount of caffeine can disrupt hydration further and impact sleep. Avoid caffeine four-to-eight hours before the tip of your shift to stop the caffeine from disrupting your sleep.
2) Calories matter – Night shift workers are tempted to eat chips, cakes, chocolates, and other snacks during their working hours. Unfortunately, what you must be eating couldn’t be more different. Whether you prefer it or not, calories in the evening hours do count. Firstly, eat a healthy meal before your shift—choose foods that may release energy slowly. Avoid eating between midnight and 6 am, if possible, must eat during the night. Select low-calorie, protein-rich snacks—don’t browse your way through the night. Lastly, eat a healthy breakfast before your daytime sleep so you don’t wake up hungry.
3) The importance of vitamin D – It helps regulate the number of calcium and phosphate within the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. Night shift workers have barely any opportunity for normal sun exposure, which is important to induce vitamin D. As per the National Academy of drugs, ideally vitamin D level could be a daily intake of 600 IU for all adults. Sources for vitamin D include –
- Fortified cereals
- Fortified fruit juice
- Fortified almond milk
- Oily fish – like salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
- Red meat
- Egg yolks
4) What are the most effective sources of nutrition for night shift workers?
- Chapattis with seasonal green vegetables
- Steamed rice and vegetable curry
- Nutritious snacks like dhokla or poha.
- Chicken breasts for protein
- Dry cereals and grain salads
- Peanut butter with fruit or vegetables
- Fresh fruit juices
- Fresh vegetable juices
- Fruit shakes made with milk, with ground flaxseed or other nuts and seeds and half teaspoon sugar.
- Boiled eggs salads with vegetables.
- Sandwiches made with low-fat meats like chicken and fish with vegetables
- Bean salad with vegetables
- Lower fat yogurt and chopped fruits.
5) What not to do
- As much as possible, reduce your intake of preserved and packaged foods and opt for fresh preparations instead.
- Avoid tea/coffee/alcohol for a minimum of 4 hours before bedtime to cut back their effects on sleep because such caffeine and alcohol can remain in your bloodstream for up to eight hours.
- Limit your daily caffeine intake to no quite 3 – 4 cups of tea/coffee.
- Never move to bed hungry because it may cause disturbed sleep and make you too restless.
- Avoid large meals during working hours.
- Avoid fatty favourites like: potato chips or any fried food which takes longer to digest and contributes to weight gain.
Miscellaneous activities to take care of a healthy diet
Take a walk – Dieting doesn’t have to be complicated, something as simple as walking during breaks can facilitate your life a healthier life. Regular walking can help you:
- Maintain a healthy weight and lose body fat.
- Prevent or manage various conditions, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, & high vital signs.
- Strengthen your bones and muscles.