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03 Oct

The Graveyard Shift: How To Stay Healthy When Working Up All Night

Ideally, a healthy routine involves a person who eats right, exercises right, and sleeps right. However, due to the demand for work and needs of society, it’s not uncommon to see people waking up at night, pack up, then work until the early hours of the morning.


The people who often work late hours are considered heroes. These people deserve to be happy and healthy in their work and lives. Without them, the industries that operate in the wee hours wouldn’t flourish.


Unsung Heroes

A lot of jobs that are crucial to an economy’s function rely on these workers to get the job done, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Nurses, Doctors, Policemen, Firefighters, and those with emergency services have shifts that cover the whole day, while some work round the clock to attend to every emergency that could happen.

Some businesses have customer service lines that cater to people who have problems with their service or product. Call center agents are also crucial for a company that handles tech, finance, utilities, etc. These people also work shifts that cover the whole day, 24/7 to ensure customer satisfaction.


Losing sleep

With that said, a lot of people often lose sleep over these jobs. For those who are new to working the graveyard shift, it’s undeniably hard for the first few days or even weeks. Within those days or weeks, a lot of people develop minor colds, increased weight, fatigue, and any other minor illnesses.

The explanation for this is that the body is adapting to a new shift that it isn’t used to. The Circadian rhythm is almost impossible to beat and has immediate repercussions the moment you attempt to alter it. As such, a person’s health can suffer for the first few weeks into the graveyard shift.


A world without the graveyard shift is impossible

If a person does nothing to at least alleviate some of these problems, these can turn into more severe complications such as increased blood pressure and diabetes. As mentioned earlier, a world without people working the graveyard shift is virtually impossible. If that were to happen, then everything would cease to exist.

There have been several ways that corporate institutions avoid burning out their employees through constant graveyard shifts. One important method is opting for rotating shifts. Although shifting is a good idea, an employee can further strengthen and improve their health when working the graveyard shift. Here are some health tips to keep in mind when working late into the night, towards the early morning:


1. Eating Healthy: Before, During and After

The food that you take in the body is responsible for giving you energy. Food is also crucial when it comes to our health. Since sleep is compromised during the late hours of working, compensate your body with healthy eating before and after working the graveyard shift.

Before going into your shift, it’s ideal to eat high protein meals such as chicken. Eating vegetables with your meals is also good. Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Arugula, and other leafy greens are ideal because they’re full of vitamins and minerals. You can also take in vitamins and greens supplements to further help you get more nutrients.

Into your graveyard shift, opt for meals and snacks that are healthy. Carrot sticks, nuts, tuna, cheese, turkey, and other rich sources of protein can help provide your body with the right components to keep you alert during the late hours. You can eat carbs such as pasta, potatoes, cereal, etc. after your shift, and not during as these foods will make you feel tired and relaxed.


2. Don’t Abuse Coffee

Coffee has a lot of health benefits, especially for people who work the graveyard shift. It can help fight off sleep. All over the world, people working in the late hours consider coffee as a friend. Whether they’re with emergency services, or if they’re entrepreneurs, or even those working within customer service, will agree that having coffee while working is amazing.

However, coffee or caffeine can significantly disrupt sleeping patterns for a lot of these people. It’s reported that for those who were drinking coffee all night long during their shifts, they had the worst experience trying to sleep when they’d go home. Ideally, the best time to drink coffee is before you start your shift and not during breaks. A small cup of coffee is usually enough to get a person through the graveyard shift.


3. Don’t use food as a pastime

During the graveyard shift, there’s always a possibility that everything settles down and people begin twiddling their thumbs, just waiting for something. To avoid drowsiness, people often talk with their workmates over food.

Using food as a pastime is a big no for your health as your body is being tricked into eating more food just to keep you awake. A healthier alternative is to do some simple exercises such as walking around, stretching, or by being busy at work can help you stay awake and alert.


4. Enjoy your rest days!

Working the graveyard shift takes a significant toll on our physical health, as well as your mental and psychological well-being. Whenever you have rest days or off days, always use them wisely. You can exercise well to further help you adapt to night shifts, or you can spend time at home relaxing while eating meals.

Don’t waste your rest days by doing more work. You’ll only get more tired, and considerably irritable. It’s a fact that the body needs to sleep to recover from all the hard work you’ve done. Rest well and enjoy your break by leaving work for the meantime. Your rest days were designed to give you time to destress, recover, and prepare for another week or shift of work.

Play games, spend time with your family, go on a short fishing trip, go to the beach, go out with friends, do everything you can enjoy while you’re on a break. As a hard worker, you deserve to have a relaxing treat every once in a while.

Too much work while having too little breaks can lead to burnout. Burnout is a condition that leads a person to be unhappy with their work. It’s a serious condition that most employers and companies look at as burned-out employees aren’t productive. These people also develop severe physical and psychological problems.

Nowadays, corporate institutions and employers know the detrimental effects of burnout and often provide employees with lots of options to wear off this severe condition. Companies that allow their workers to burnout are heading towards failure. These companies risk losing skilled employees and paying sanctions that can potentially lead to business closure due to work-code violations.


There are a lot of people who work the graveyard shift. These people are heroes in every right as they provide us with services and assistance throughout the day. However, these heroes are still human and deserve to be happy and healthy. The tips above can help our heroes to stay healthy and alert during their graveyard shift. Eating right, not abusing caffeine, and enjoying day-offs are excellent ways to stay healthy.


Photo Credit:  Pixabay

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