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Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD) and Corporates: How to Thrive for Optimal Health? 

Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD) and Corporates: How to Thrive for Optimal Health? 

 Working the night shift can take a toll on your health, with Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD) being a common adversary. It disrupts your body’s internal clock and sleep-wake cycle, resulting in sleep troubles, daytime drowsiness, headaches, fatigue, and overall reduced functioning. Beyond these immediate effects, SWSD can have significant medical implications, including hormonal imbalances, immune system suppression, and even a higher risk of disorders like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and breast cancer. From optimizing your sleep schedule to making smart choices in nutrition, we’ve got you covered. 

Medical Implications Due to SWSD: 

The disturbance of circadian rhythm in shift workers triggers hormonal imbalances involving melatonin and cortisol, increasing the risk of metabolic syndrome disorders like obesity and type 2 diabetes. Moreover, shift work can negatively impact your daily functioning, leading to health complications. In a study it was found that Female night shift workers may also face an elevated risk of breast cancer due to increased light exposure at night and suppressed melatonin release. 

 

Wellness Tips to Overcome These Issues: 

  • Shift Schedule Adjustment: Gradually transition back to a regular schedule by taking power naps and staying active during your last night shift, followed by sleeping in and napping on your last free evening. 
  • Maintain Proper Sleep Hygiene: Follow good sleep hygiene practices like creating a dark, well-ventilated sleeping environment, and disconnect from electronic devices 30 minutes before bedtime for a restful sleep. 
  • Take Nap Breaks: Utilize your break times for strategic naps to boost alertness and focus. 
  • Make Exercise a Habit: Regular physical activity during daytime hours enhances work performance, energy levels, mental well-being, and overall health. 

 

Nutrition Tips for Night Shift Workers: 

Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration improves concentration and maintains body functions. Keep a water bottle handy. 

Be Prepared for the Day: Consume your main meal in the early part of the evening to curb hunger and cravings during your shift. Include whole grains and protein for sustained energy. Good options include Poha with paneer and peanuts, whole grain egg sandwiches, Beans and egg salad, Oatmeal with milk and nuts etc.  

Limit Caffeine Intake: Caffeine can interrupt our body clock- melatonin and this can affect sleeping habits. Restrict caffeine to a maximum of 2 cups per day and avoid coffee in the evening to prevent sleep disruption. 

Carry Your Meals: Opt for homemade, healthy snacks like mixed nuts, dry roasted makhana, dry fruits, and berries to combat cravings. 

Eat a Wholesome Breakfast: Enjoy a light, comforting breakfast before your daytime sleep to prevent waking up hungry. 

Best Foods for Night Shift Workers: 

Select nutrient-rich options like fruits, vegetables, protein sources (nuts, eggs, seeds), salads, dark chocolate, oatmeal, protein bars, and sandwiches for an energy boost during your shift. 

Surviving the night shift and overcoming Shift Work Sleep Disorder requires careful planning, a focus on sleep hygiene, and mindful nutrition choices. By implementing these wellness tips, you can thrive during your night shifts, maintain your health, and conquer the challenges that come with an unconventional work schedule. 

 

  

Ayisha Nasneena

Ayisha Nasneena is a Clinical Nutritionist with a strong academic background in Clinical nutrition. She obtained her master's degree from Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre in Clinical Nutrition in Food Science. Ayisha also holds a MOOC certification from the University of Netherlands in Sports, Nutrition, and Exercise. She is dedicated to introducing the benefits of evidence-based nutrition to individuals to enhance their health and well-being through the power of good food.

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