HSW 40 – Shift Work and Your Immune System.

Healthy Shift Worker Podcast Episode:

It’s currently winter here in Australia, and many of my clients are showing signs of being struck down by various things like colds and flu so today’s episode is going to be all about that – your immune system, and how shift work, or more specifically sleep deprivation impairs its ability to function as it should.

The link between lack of sleep and a depleted immune system has been shown in various studies including a Dutch cohort study involving more than 10,000 employees, many of which included shift workers. Results showed that shift workers, especially those working the night shift, had a much higher risk of infections such as colds, flu and gastroenteritis, compared to those working daytime shifts.

So that’s the bad news, but what can we do to build our resilience and prevent ourselves from getting sick in the first place, besides getting some much needed sleep?!

Well, there are a myriad of ways to support our immune system, but in this episode I focus on just three, including the importance of vitamins C and D3, along with nurturing our gut or gastrointestinal tract which is home to 80% of our immune system.

I also chat about the connection between diets high in processed and pre-packaged foods and gut dysbiosis, and how these foods can have detrimental effects on our immune regulating gut flora or microbiome. Quite simply, if your diet encompasses lots of processed foods, then you are quite literally contributing to the destruction of your immune system.

So if you’re sick and tired of getting sick all of the time, then you won’t want to miss this episode.

Audra x

Resources mentioned on the podcast

Professor Russel Foster’s TED Talk – Why Do We Sleep?

Dr Natasha Campbell’s book – Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

Sugar and Shift Work:

A Double Whammy On Your Immune System!

Cookie man and retro alarm clock on wooden backgroundDo you often fall ill, catching every cold or bug that’s going around? Well considering sleep deprivation depletes our immune system – it’s not surprising.

However as much as we may like to, we can’t always blame sleep deprivation for our embattled immune systems – not entirely anyway.

For all of the sugar lovers out there (you’re not going to like me after sharing this), but several research studies have confirmed that there’s a strong link between high sugar consumption, and the suppression of the body’s immune system.

Yep I know what you’re thinking – bugger!

The harsh reality is that for many shift workers, sugar can be our nemesis.

As we wander around in a zombie state, we often reach for a sugar-laden drink or packet of lollies to help boost our energy (be it only temporary) to get us through our shift. Unfortunately this ends up having a negative effect on our health – in particular our immune system health. (more…)