Healthy Shift Worker Podcast:
Over the past 2 years or so of recording podcast episodes, I’ve occasionally mentioned the words ‘sympathetic dominance’, as it’s a condition that I quite often see in many of my patients who work 24/7, in particular those who struggle to get good quality sleep.
Otherwise known as the ‘fight or flight’ arm of our autonomic nervous system, sympathetic dominance is when our bodies become ‘stuck’ in this fight or flight stress response for long durations at a time.
Unfortunately for shift workers, ongoing sleep deprivation actually makes us quite prone to this overactive stimulation of our nervous system which can lead to a whole host of chronic health complaints from cardiovascular disease, diabetes and weight gain, along with the suppression of our reproductive and immune system. In addition, it becomes a bit of a Catch-22, in that sympathetic dominance actually switches off our parasympathetic nervous system, which plays a fundamentally important role in our ability to rest and sleep.
To discuss this topic in greater detail, I’ve brought in Dr Wayne Todd who is a chiropractor based in Sale, Victoria, who has written an entire book on sympathetic dominance titled ‘SD Protocol – Achieve greater health by learning to balance your physical, chemical and emotional wellbeing‘.
Tune in to hear Dr Todd go into some of the physical, chemical and emotional causes behind sympathetic dominance, and what we can do as shift workers to help dampen down this stress response. This will in turn, have a positive flow on effect of reducing some of our risks of developing these chronic health conditions, along with improving the quality of our sleep.
Links mentioned in the podcast: