How to get the most out of shift work
SHIFT work is really demanding on our bodies and in the North East with the main industries being farming and health care, many of our population is doing some degree of shift work.
Research tells us that the longer you are involved in shift work the more at risk you are of health issues.
Talking to shift workers, you can certainly see that this is the case.
Many complain of heartburn, fatigue, social isolation, blood sugar swings, muscle tightness and high blood pressure.
These ‘minor’ symptoms will progress into more chronic and problematic health issues if not dealt with immediately.
Looking at the diet and lifestyle of this group the above health issues are not surprising.
Humans are meant to sleep when it is dark and be active and alert during the day.
When we start fighting against our natural body clock we disrupt a whole lot of hormones and glands.
Shift work means you are in a constant battle to state alert when your natural response is to sleep.
This means you are constantly secreting stress hormones and getting a build up of toxic lactic acid as a waste product.
However it is not all doom and gloom.
If your job requires you to be on shift, these ideas will help to reduce many of the symptoms.
Drink 1.5 L of water each shift. For each cup of caffeine add 1 extra glass of water.
Use electrolytes: Avoid regular sports drinks as they have too much sugar and sodium. Try Endura or another with simular amounts of magnesium.
Stretch or use yoga as a cool down after work. Spending 20mins stretching in combination with a light walk will diffuse those stress hormones and breakdown the lactic acid.
Eat small protein rich snacks at regular intervals on shift: try tuna, eggs, nuts and seeds, cream cheese, natural yoghurt. Combine these with fruits and vegetables.
DEMANDING WORK: Doing shift work in industries such as health and aged care can be a health risk if not managed properly.
BY NATUROPATHS BELINDA MCPHERSON AND SOPHIE LORBACK (BHSCI. NATUROPATHY)