When it comes to health complaints amongst shift workers, one of the most common things that I hear from my clients is digestive discomfort. This can come in the form of constipation, bloating or various other irritable bowel type symptoms.
Now to be honest, there could be a myriad of reasons as to why you may be experiencing digestive distress, but today I want to talk about one strategy that’s … well, often overlooked if you work 24/7 – yet it can make a MASSIVE difference to how your gut feels and functions.
And if comes down to asking yourself “when (and how often) am I eating?”
Because when we work 24/7, we tend to eat 24/7 which can set us up for a whole world of pain – in a number of ways!
In other words, although we may be awake at 2am (well I use the term “awake” loosely here!), it doesn’t mean we should be eating at 2am, because of our innate biological rhythms as a human being.
I’ll use an analogy to help explain what I mean.
When it comes to improving our sleep, so many of us are resorting to taking pills and potions when working 24/7, but did you know that using Mother Nature strategically (AKA timed sunshine exposure) can help to improve your sleep?
I know this might sound counterintuitive, but often when we think of ways to improve our sleep, most of the time we think that it’s all about what we’re doing JUST BEFORE BED (which does play a role), however, what we’re doing hours before, leading up to bedtime, also counts.
This is because getting sun exposure helps to reset certain mood-boosting hormones and neurotransmitters – in particular cortisol, dopamine, serotonin and melatonin, which also play a role in our sleep.
For example, when we get sun exposure first thing in the morning it boosts production of:
Healthy Shift Worker Podcast Episode:
This week I chat about my all time favourite topic – Food Timing, or the more fancier, scientific way to describe it is Chrononutrition.
Chrononutrition involves the study of how nutrition impacts on our metabolism, via our internal body clock, which includes meal regularity (or in the case of a shift worker, meal irregularity), frequency and clock time.
Eating out of sync to our body’s natural circadian clock is very common in those who work 24/7 (thanks to some pretty crazy rosters), however this can disrupt our metabolism leading to weight gain as our body is not geared up for night-time energy and nutrient consumption.
Over time, it can also contribute to gut disturbances and various chronic diseases such as peptic ulcer disease and type 2 diabetes, both of which are quite prevalent in the shift working population.
So tune in to hear my biggest tip in helping to overcome weight gain whilst working 24/7, and why as weird as it sounds, we need to be thinking of ourselves as walking clocks … because as human beings, that’s exactly what we are – finely tuned walking clocks.
Resources mentioned on the podcast:
The Obesity Code, by Dr Jason Fung available through Amazon
To book a Healthy Shift Worker Consultation with Audra Click Here.
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