Healthy Shift Worker Podcast Episode:
One of the most common struggles I hear from my shift working clients is this ongoing, relentless craving for sugar!
But why is that? Why are shift workers notorious for craving (and eating) all of the sweet stuff – the highly refined carbohydrates that are neither good for our insides or our waistline?!
Well it all comes back to sleep deprivation, so in this episode I will be shedding the light on how lack of sleep effects our brain function, and how one chemical in particular, which causes us to seek out and eat foods which are high in sugar, is much higher in those who are sleep deprived.
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Thanks to our erratic shift schedules and overwhelming levels of fatigue, shift workers inadvertently spend less time in the outdoors.
However it’s not just those of us working 24/7 who are locking ourselves inside or soaking ourselves in sunscreens each time we venture outside in the sun, because there’s actually a world wide epidemic of vitamin D deficiency.
And whilst we may call it a vitamin per se, it’s actually not a vitamin. It’s a steroid hormone, meaning it’s a steroid that acts as a hormone.
This one little hormone has loads of responsibilities including helping to coordinate our metabolism, our digestive and cardio-vascular systems, along with our immune, endocrine, and reproductive systems.
But what about our sleep?
Well considering there are lots of vitamin D receptor sites found in the brain and brainstem (proteins found on the surface of a cell which “listen’ to incoming messages) which are linked to light cues on the retina in the eye helping to trigger the production of melatonin influencingour sleep, one can make the assumption that vitamin D has a very important role in our circadian clock or sleep/wake cycle. (more…)