How To Eat on Night Shift to Reduce Fatigue?

Back in my Uni days of studying to become a nutritionist, I remember overhearing a discussion between a lecturer and student about what would be the ideal meal option for someone who work’s the night shift.

The lecturer’s reply was:

“Just get them to flip their meals around. As in have their big meal around midnight and 1am”.

The thing is, that never really sat right with me.

Given the functionality of our circadian rhythm varies enormously between that of the day versus the night, I instinctively knew that nocturnal food intake, especially in large quantities, was bound to cause havoc on our digestive system. Not ideal, given most shift workers are plagued by gastrointestinal complaints at the best of times!

However, it doesn’t stop at the digestive system.

It can affect our cognition, amongst other things, which if your work involves making complex decisions, operating machinery or performing surgery, can be extremely important.

(more…)

Gut Loving Energising Smoothie

Do you experience gut discomfort and lack energy?

Yeah I know. It’s a bit of a silly question as most shift workers do.

This is due mostly to something called circadian misalignment, which is just a fancy way to describe eating out of sync to our natural body clock.

That being said, it’s not just about food timing.

When we’re tired we don’t always make the healthiest of food choices because let’s face it. It’s really hard to muster up the strength to whip up a culinary delight when we can barely keep our eyes open from exhaustion!

This ends up being a bit of a Catch-22 because it contributes to an even further lack of energy due to insufficient nutrients needed for energy production on a cellular level. 

This leads to a disruption in the regulation of the nervous system. In other words, makes us feel even more tired, anxious and frazzled!

The good news is, I’ve got a “can’t-be-bothered-to-make-anything-fancy” smoothie recipe that is not only quick to make, but will supply your body with a wonderful assortment of nutrients to give you more zing.

The apple cider vinegar and ginger in this smoothie will also help to settle an anxious tummy.

What’s In It?

100g blueberries (preferably organic)
250ml almond milk (or milk of your choice)
1 orange – juice and zest
2cm piece of fresh ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp coconut oil
a pinch of freshly ground black pepper

How To Make It?

Throw everything into a blender and blitz until smooth.

Drink immediately or pop into a chilled thermos to take into work and enjoy whilst on shift.

Note: you’ll need to give the smoothie a good shake once it’s been in the fridge for a while as the coconut oil will harden slightly.

Audra x

References:
.

Antunes, L, Levandovski, R, Dantas, G, Gaumo, W & Hidalgo, M 2010, ‘Obesity and shift work: Chronobiological aspects’, Nutrition Research Review, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 155-168.

Kanarek, R 1997, ‘Psychological effects of snacks and altered meal frequency’, British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 77, pp. S105-S120.

Nor, A, Norsham, J, Nur, T, Sahar, A, Srijit, D & Effendy N 2020, ‘Consequences of circadian disruption in shift workers on chrononutrition and their psychosocial well-being’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 17, no. 6, pp. 1-17.

HSW 90 – Reducing Fatigue When Working 24/7.

This week’s podcast I’m talking all things fatigue, and how to reduce it without relying on pills, potions, and stimulants such as energy drinks.

To do this, I discuss how to optimise our circadian rhythms or natural sleep/wake cycle using circadian medicine strategies because the single most common cause of fatigue for shift workers, is a disrupted circadian rhythm or “body clock”.

By implementing circadian medicine strategies such as working with specific circadian “cues” or disruptors, otherwise known as Zeitgebers, that can either send messages to our brain to be in ENERGY MODE, or alternatively make us feel tired and go into SLEEP MODE, it helps the body to transition from night to day (and vice versa) as quickly as possible as a result of shift rotations.

HSW 66 – Addressing Fatigue with John Toomey

In today’s show we’re talking all things fatigue because let’s face it, when we work 24/7, it forms a huge part of our way of life!

John Toomey is based in Melbourne, Australia and is affectionately known as ‘The Fatigue Professor’.  After completing a Physical Education degree in 1981, John worked for 7 AFL teams as a conditioning coach and/or nutritionist and has since written multiple books, e-books, published 100’s of articles, lectured in Universities and presented over 2000 seminars in workplaces across Australia and around the World.  To say he’s qualified to talk all things fatigue is a massive understatement!

In this episode John explains:

  • How drinking water helps to reduce fatigue, by increasing blood volume and enhancing circulation
  • The optimal amount of water intake required for every 25kgs of body weight
  • How dehydration can prevent your core body temperature from dropping by 1 degree, preventing the body from acquiring that deep, restorative REM sleep
  • Why resistance to being at work, creates even more fatigue than the work itself
  • Why placing “intentions” at the beginning of your shift, can help to improve your energy
  • How nourishing the microbiome in the gut, or gastrointestinal tract, with optimal nutrition also helps to increase energy levels

Links mentioned on the podcast:

The Wide Awake Program / App

Website – http://fatigueprofessor.com

To contact John – info@fatigueprofessor.com

Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/johntoomey-thoughtleader/

HSW 57: Life on the Railways with Zach Nobel

Healthy Shift Worker Podcast:

Ever wondered what it’s like to work on a moving train 24/7?  Well this is exactly what Brisbane-based Nutrition and Media student Zach Nobel does in between his studies at University.  When he’s not submerged under textbooks, Zach works for Queensland Rail, working onboard long distance trains between Brisbane and all around Queensland.

As a 20-something millennial, Zach realised quite quickly into his shift working career that he was going to have to take care of his health, in order to sustain his career working 24/7.  So in this episode, Zach shares some of his tips for staying healthy whilst on night-shift, along with how to manage and reduce some of the effects of night-shift fatigue, in particular when confined to an air-conditioned cabin that continually rocks from side to side!