Few people find working the night shift an easy prospect. For most, it takes a progressive toll that only grows worse over time. Weight gain is a common side effect. An ever-increasing sleep deficit is another common side effect. While you’d be hard-pressed to find a night shift routine that can substitute for a regular day-night schedule, a healthy lifestyle can help you handle the night shift better. Here are five ways a healthy lifestyle will do that for you.
Healthier Immune System
People who work the night shift tend to get sick more often. That is because the body needs certain things to maintain a healthy immune system. It needs enough rest, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. If you make a habit of getting enough sleep, minimizing unhealthy food choices, and getting at least some exercise, you’ll get sick far less often than your coworkers.
Better Sense of Well-Being
Anyone working the night shift gets less sunlight exposure than people who work a day shift. They also get to socialize less often with friends and family. Anyone getting insufficient sleep also struggles more with emotional control. This combination can cause a steady decline in your sense of well-being. Regular exercise, good nutrition, and sound sleep all help you preserve a healthy sense of well-being.
Poor sleep, poor nutrition, and minimal exercise are the trifecta of gaining weight. That means that working the night shift puts you at far greater risk for obesity than your day shift counterparts. Regular exercise and a healthy diet help you combat the calorie-based side of weight gain. As a bonus, exercise and healthy food help support restful sleep.
Faster Recovery time
It’s a fundamental truth that unhealthy people recover from injury and illness more slowly than healthier people. A healthy lifestyle makes you more physically, emotionally, and mentally resilient. You bounce back faster from illness. You’re less likely to become depressed about an illness or injury and more likely to see it as a challenge. In short, you’re better prepared to get well.
Helps You Avoid Problematic Chemicals
Night shift workers often find themselves stuck in an ugly cycle of chemical use. They don’t get enough healthy sleep, so they chug coffee and energy drinks all night. They get home tired but stuck with caffeine wakefulness. They have a beer or a glass of wine to help them drop off, which causes poor sleep. Begin the cycle again. A healthy lifestyle lets you stay awake and fall asleep without relying on chemicals to help.
You Need a Healthy Lifestyle
In many ways, night shift workers need a healthy lifestyle even more than people on day shifts. You have more challenges. A healthy food, exercise, and sleep regimen make you more resilient, less prone to illness or injury, and psychologically healthier. All of which makes coping with the night shift easier.
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