Night Shifts and a Healthy Lifestyle – Can they ever be BFFs?

Anjali is a successful Operational Manager at a company. She works on night shift four days of the week. While her work gets done quickly and easily due to lesser people in office and the laidback vibe of late hours, her lifestyle is completely out of order during the other three days of the week. She sits up late at night due to insomnia and sleeps through the day. Because of this, she cannot get any other work done and also ends up indulging in unhealthy eating habits. Lack of a schedule makes her hungry at odd hours; she ends up grabbing a packet of chips or biscuits to munch on, only to realize that she hardly has any proper meals throughout the day! Over time, she realized that this has got to stop. What does she do?

This is not only Anjali’s story but of several others who work in night shifts or at odd hours. People assume that working a night shift is easier than the normal shift since you have probably a calmer environment to work in. But these working hours have a tremendous disadvantage upon your health and your personal life. Once you have gotten yourself into the routine of staying up late in the night, taking some precautions and measures to ensure that the rest of your days are spent productively and that you get the rest that you deserve is very important.

The most important thing is diet! When you’re on a night shift, you probably end up eating packaged food or junk food or even nothing at all. While resorting to such means a few times is alright, making it a part of your daily routine is a strict no-no. The best way to go about it is to prepare something beforehand and take it with you in office to eat later. These could be simple dishes such as a chicken salad or a bunch of chopped vegetables sautéed together. Do not waste time being meticulous in the preparations because then you will get bored of doing it after a couple of days. Stick to the basics and make it a habit.

It’s understandable that working late hours is going to need you to put caffeine in your body to give you energy and keep you up. After all, coffee is the go-to option for people working in normal shifts too, so we can’t really blame the ones working in night shifts. If not for coffee, there are people who have energy drinks or soda to keep themselves up, which is alright too. Again, the only thing to remember is to not overdo it! A cup or two of coffee is a given but if you are having six to eight cups a day, you have got to find an alternative. You can try black coffee or green tea. These will prevent your body from heavy intakes of sugar, thus, also avoiding too many calories.

There will, of course, be instances when you really want to cook something to avoid eating junk but you have absolutely no preparation time. In such cases, go in for good liquid calories by preparing yourself a smoothie. Make sure that you have a blender at home or at work (if that’s allowed) and you can just pop in some fruits, add milk and voila! There’s a healthy liquid meal right there! Experiment with flavours, add almonds and nuts for taste and even treat yourself to Nutella and chocolate syrup once in a while. It’s still going to be better than a packet of chips for dinner.

Lastly, make some time for exercise! Working long hours is going to make you feel like you have absolutely no time for it but it is definitely possible if you can push yourself a little. Try cutting your nap time a little shorter. If you do not have time to hit the gym, do

a quick 20-minute workout at home. If that’s not possible either, take a quick walk down the road from your house and back. Make sure that you subject your body to some form of physical exercise, at least, every alternate day. Though this may seem like an impossible task in the beginning, it will make you feel much healthier and fitter in the long run.

Make good use of technology! With the increasing number of apps and websites available in the market today, you can have a virtual assistant for all your chores. These apps can help you keep an account of your weekly intake of food and calories so that you can change your eating habits accordingly.

With a little bit of effort and precautions, working on a night shift can be as smooth as working on a regular shift, and the right diet will help you remain fit and healthy too!

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