As shift workers we certainly live at the mercy of our alarm clocks and it’s near impossible to ever feel “energized” when we’re running on 4-5 hours’ sleep or less, particularly if you’re a night shift worker.
The actual process of sleep is regulated by two body systems:
- Sleep/wake homeostasis
- The circadian biological clock
When we have been awake for a long period of time, our sleep/wake homeostasis tells us that a need for sleep is accumulating and that it is time to sleep. Our internal circadian biological clocks, on the other hand, regulate the timing of periods of sleepiness and wakefulness throughout the day (source: www. sleepfoundation.org).
The problem for shift workers however, is when we work such crazy, irregular hours we’re disrupting the body’s ability to carry out these 2 very important functions.
And as long as we continue to work shift work – we will continue to feel exhausted and fatigued in some way, because the body can never catch up.
So besides quitting your job, what else can you do?
Well the best tip I can give you is to feed your body with nutrition that’s going to give it energy and not take it away. Fast food and over-processed food does exactly that – it drains your body of energy trying to digest food which it does not recognize, and when you eat a whole lot of processed foods (as a lot of shift workers do), you’re weighing your digestive system down even further making you feel even more lethargic.
In his book “Eating for Energy“, nutritionist, kinesiologist and fitness coach, Yuri Elkaim describes the power of Maca – which is a powdered supplement originating from the Peruvian maca root. It contains amino acids, complex carbohydrates, vitamins B, C and E, and many important minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, zinc, magnesium, and iron.
Its many benefits include balancing hormones, building muscles and wait for it … enhancing stamina! A must have for every shift worker on the planet!
Maca also helps to support the adrenal glands and alleviate stress on the body which is perfect for those who are stressed and/or suffer from adrenal fatigue.
So as promised, here’s my “Fatigue Busting” Banana, Passionfruit and Maca Protein Smoothie:
1/2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
1/2 tbsp. linseeds
1 tbsp. maca powder
60 g ice cubes
1/2 tbsp. honey
150 g almond or rice milk
1 organic banana
1 organic passionfruit
Place almonds, linseeds and sunflower seeds into a food processor/blender and mill until it turns into a powder.
Add all remaining ingredients into a food processor/blender and combine to achieve the consistency you desire.
This smoothie is great for a fast, on-the-run style brekky – or when you’re just feeling too tired to cook, no matter what time of the day!