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Night Shifts and Their Effects on Health: What You Can Do?

August 24, 2022 by The Sleep Company

Night Shifts and Their Effects on Health: What You Can Do?

Globalization brought the world closer, and many global companies came to India, providing work to local people. However, though these companies worked with local people, they kept their office hours similar to home countries to maintain rapport with other branches worldwide, eventually making employees work night shifts. 

Working the night shifts means going against your biological clock. And it has many diverse effects on your physical, mental and social health. 

Effects of night shifts

Effects of night shifts

Working the night shifts hampers a lot of things, including sleep quality. Let’s look at things that get affected due to working the night shifts. 

Changed sleeping time

The primary thing that gets hampered is your sleep. Changed working hours make you remain awake at night and sleep during the day, which is completely opposite of our circadian rhythm or natural sleep-wake clock. It impacts the overall health and impaired sleep quality.

Changed metabolism

Working the night shifts has an adverse impact on your metabolism. Hormones govern our body’s metabolism, such as leptin, which regulates insulin, blood sugar, and body weight. 

The production of leptin or other hormones mainly depends on the circadian rhythm. Night shifts irregulate the production and circulation of the hormones, further impairing metabolism and inducing health issues.

Gastronomical issues

Impaired metabolism and circadian rhythm further enhance gastronomical issues. Such as nausea, ulcer, diarrhea, bladder stones, and constipation. 

And, if you are working a night shift regularly or on rotational, it further enhances the issue and creates lifelong problems. 

Hormonal imbalance

Melatonin and Cortisol are the hormones that get most affected due to night shifts. When you get exposed to light, your body produces Cortisol which helps you remain awake, while darkness increases the production of Melatonin which enables you to sleep. 

While working the night shift, you are exposed to light at a time when you should be in the dark. It causes hormonal imbalance and further creates distress in the body.

Vitamin D deprivation

Vitamin D is essential to your health, and its lesser intake can cause various issues like osteomalacia, Heart disease, and a variety of cancer. Though you can get vitamin D by consuming different foods, the maximum amount of it is absorbed from the sunlight. 

Working the night shifts means sleeping during the day. It causes you to remain inside during the day when you are supposed to be out in the daylight. It further increases vitamin D deprivation in your body and leads you to various health issues. 

Addiction to caffeine, smoking, etc

Staying awake at night is an arduous task due to the biological clock. However, it becomes a necessity of the time, and people make strenuous efforts to remain awake the whole night. For that, most people consume caffeine or energy-boosting drinks to help them remain awake and energetic throughout the night. Also, some may begin smoking or consumption of tobacco.

The occasional consumption of these products soon becomes a habit and then develops into an addiction that sometimes remains irrecoverable and can cause severe health disorders.

Hampers social life

Last but not least, night shifts seriously hamper your social life. Since everyone else in your family, friends, and relatives work during the day and you alone work at night. Your time with them reduces due to different sleeping and working hours. 

Also, sleeping during the day becomes difficult due to surrounding noises which increase your irritation, and you vent it out on the people around you. 

Tips for dealing with the night shifts

Tips for dealing with the night shifts

Due to increased competition and many other reasons, working the night shifts became inevitable. Though it causes lots of trouble, specific ways can help you deal with the night shifts.

Let’s take a look at some tips to deal with the night shifts:

Make slow transition

Changing from daily routine is complex, and when you have to change your sleeping patterns abruptly, it can cause tremendous health issues. Therefore, do not rush into changing sleeping patterns when the night shift begins. 

Try to take naps in-between breaks of working hours and gradually reduce them. Create a schedule and stick to it, which can reduce stress on health and help you ease the transition from day shift to night shift.

Eat in small portions 

Staying awake at night often makes you hungry, and also, your cravings increase for food that is spicy, sweet, or junk food. Eating at night or unhealthy food can cause various health issues.

Therefore, to avoid any health issues try to maintain your diet. Do not overeat at one time and eat in small portions at specific intervals to not hamper your digestion system. 

Control caffeine and energy drink

Many people drink lots of caffeine and energy drinks to remain awake at night. However, these brain stimulants stay in your system for many hours and do not let you sleep even after your night shift is over.  Therefore, try to control excessive caffeine and other energy drinks by staying awake naturally. 

Balance hydration

Working the night shifts can highly impact your body water content. Therefore, drink an adequate amount of water regularly to avoid any dehydration. 

Get sunlight exposure

Night shifts prevent your exposure to sunlight, further preventing you from getting Vitamin D. Try to get as much sunlight as possible. Seat in the morning sunlight after returning home from work or try to remain outside on weekends or holidays. 

Communicate with co-workers

Working night shifts can be challenging as we lose social life and feel sleepy all the time. Therefore, maintain communication with your fellow workers as it refreshes you and helps you relax mentally. 

Take adequate sleep

Night shifts destroy your sleeping pattern. However, if you ensure that you complete an adequate amount of sleep when you hit the mattress, it can help you remain on track and cope better with night shifts. 

Create sleeping environment 

Getting those 7-9 hours of proper sleep is essential whether you work the day or night shift. However, working the night shifts makes it difficult for you to sleep during the day due to the lack of silence, increased daylight, and continuous hustle-bustle around you.

Therefore, try to create a sleeping environment, such as

Bottom Line:

Night Shifts are indeed complex and difficult to deal with. It not only hampers your health temporarily but also affects your life in the long term. However, with some help from your loved ones and strictly following a particular regime, you will get through it with minimal damage.

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