How to get the most out of shift work

Myrtleford Times - - Regional Extra -

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.


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