Shift work and night shifts play havoc with appetites and energy levels. Shift workers notice that they want to eat at odd times, and feel the need to load with carbs, sugars and all the things that are bad for us.
There are nutrition plans that would help – and many in the shift work industry believe that employers need to be more proactive about the problem and give advice on the subject of food.
Luckily there are many resources out there and forums that can support you. Here’s four of our favourite articles that can help you manage your healthy lifestyle and shift work.
This article from Psychology Today has plenty of great advice for shift workers.
It gives lots of useful information about the dangers of binge eating and the steps you can take to avoid it.
There’s some very practical Nutrition Tips and advice for shift workers on this blog.
This Dietician’s blog has four simple steps for eating healthily. There’s a range of posts on the site covering everything from eating out, to diabetes, eating disorders and much much more
Common Shift Work Health Issues
One of the most common problems Shift Workers encounter are stomach problems. Many shift workers eat poorly and at odd times, leading to stomach and other gut related issues.
The overall advice is to try to eat three regular meals spaced evenly over the course of the day no matter when you’re working. Regular mealtimes are important for your body. They serve as the time cues for your body clock. Helping your body to know when to make you sleepy.
Eating a hot meal while on the job (if you have time) is one of the most common pieces of advice. As is not eating your largest meal of the day within three hours of bedtime.
The common advice is also to avoid drinking any alcohol within three hours of bedtime. At first, alcohol may help you fall asleep quicker. But over time, it can make your sleep worse. It causes you to wake up more often during your sleep period and has longer term health effects.
Lastly, avoid eating a lot of snacks and fast foods as well. Snacking between meals is the quick way to an unhealthy lifestyle. Instead, go for a balanced, low-fat diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and cereals. This helps to prevent many of the stomach problems in shift workers.
Why not set a timer on your phone, or plan your diet by adding notes to My Shift Planner?