Night shift workers are more likely to suffer from insomnia, fatigue, accidents, ulcers, and even certain types of cancer than those who work during the day. People also frequently gain weight when they work the night shift. Although it’s clearly not ideal, many people have no choice but to work nights. So, here are some tips on how to keep shift work from sabotaging your nutrition or your health.
1] Dinner – Normally a person would end his day by eating dinner. But for those on night shift, the cycle starts with dinner.
– If your shift start from 7 pm onwards or later, you should not have dinner late to compensate. Instead have your dinner and then leave for work.
– If your shift starts at 4.00 – 5.00 pm , then have your dinner at around 7.30 / 8 .00 pm. Don’t wait to get home and then eat.
The most important tip for night shift workers is that your dinner timings are crucial. Many people avoid dinner before the shift to stop from feeling sleepy or heavy during work hours.
Eat – lighter dinner items like brown rice with veggies and dal , idlies with chutney / dosa / utappam / only phulka instead of oily chapatis / puris, with salads and veggies / vegetable daliya / vegetable khichadi. Veggies are very important to avoid acidity.
Avoid – Fatty food , fried foods like samosa , kachori, puris, potatoes and excessive sweets and desserts. Avoid starchy foods. These will leave you heavy and bloated and sleepy, and a few hours later they would provoke more acid formation leading to acidity.
2. Hydration – Many people take up to drinking countless cups of tea and coffee to remain awake and active through the night. But this is another habit that is detrimental to your health. Hydration is very important, keep sipping some liquids every 30 -45 minutes and you will never feel sleepy.
Drink – Nimbu paani / lemonade , coconut water , vegetable soups , apple juice , carrot juice , beetroot juice and buttermilk. Flavoured milk is also a good option.
Avoid – Tea and coffee in excess. 1/2 cup once or twice is fine, but not more than that. Especially if you have not had a proper meal that day. It may lead to acidity, insomnia, and restlessness. Avoid excessive aerated beverages and cold drinks.
3] Snacking at night – When hungry at night, keep some roasted nuts like almonds , soyabean , pumpkin seeds , flax seeds and peanuts handy. These are healthy snacks and will not lead to weight gain and will prevent you from overeating. Roasted channa is another healthy option. You can also keep some murmura / kadlepuri / puffed rice handy and have a bit when hungry.
If you are very hungry , choose poha and upma from the canteen over pizzas, burgers or vada pav.
What to do on reaching home from night shift?
– If you reach home at midnight or a little later like 2.00 am, don’t immediately go to bed. After reaching home drink lukewarm water and lemon or a glass of warm milk , change up and then hit the bed.
– If you reach home in early morning hours like 5.00 am or later, have a bath, wear light clothes have a small meal poha / upma / corn flakes or wheat flakes with a glass of milk and then hit the bed.
Avoid non-veg food.