There is a myriad of drugs that can affect our sleep, some of which include beta-blockers (prescribed for high blood pressure), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRI’s (a type of antidepressant) and, ironically, even some which are designed to enhance sleep quality such as benzodiazepines.
Given shift workers endure bouts of restricted and fragmented sleep depending on their shift rotations, minimizing exposure to anything which can further exacerbate poor sleep needs to be a priority.
I would recommend writing down every drug and supplement that you are taking and asking your health care practitioner if any could be interfering with your sleep.
Then look at reverse-engineering things by asking if any lifestyle modification strategies could be implemented to address some of the reasons why you’re taking the medications.
Soooooo I’m going to be addressing a bit of an Elephant in the Room here, but have you measured your waistline lately?
Now before you scramble for the DELETE or unsubscribe button, the reason why I’m raising awareness around this topic is that my entire Healthy Shift Worker philosophy has always been about sharing stuff that people don’t necessarily want to hear, but need to.
Quite simply, I care about your health, and want you to be the healthiest version of yourself possible.
That being said, I’d be pretty safe to say that most people would have answered with a “no’ to a waistline check, so don’t take it personally if you can resonate!
But let’s get back to your waistline, and why its circumference is important.
Last week I chatted briefly about a condition called metabolic syndrome (MetS), and how it’s inflammatory effects can alter the normal functioning of lymphatic tissues involved in the immune response.
Now there are 5 risk factors that fall under the banner of metabolic syndrome, but in today’s post, I’m going to concentrate on High Blood Pressure, also known as hypertension.
First and foremost, something to keep in mind is that high blood pressure is an inflammatory disease that impairs immune function. That being said, a compromised immune system also leads to inflammation, so it works both ways.
When the immune response becomes dysregulated, it causes the sympathetic nervous system (a fancy way to describe our ‘fight or flight’ stress response), to go into overdrive. This raises our heart rate and blood pressure (which is fine in the short term), but over the long-term, can lead to oxidative damage causing arterial stiffening and hardening of the arteries.
Picture a rusty pipe and this is pretty much what oxidative damage does to our inner piping, so definitely something we want to avoid!
The other day it was raining ☔️ here in my hometown of Brisbane, so I thought what better way than to experiment in the kitchen!
Now given the majority of shift workers experience “hangry” moments thanks to blood sugar dysregulation as a result of sleep disruption, I wanted to come up with a recipe that would help to keep sugar cravings at bay.
Meet Mr Macadamia Nut Hummus– the perfect sugar craving antidote whether you’re on an early shift, late shift, night shift or heaven forbid a “normal” shift – lol
Macadamia nuts are high in healthy monounsaturated fats to keep you feeling fuller for longer, and are a great source of magnesium, potassium, copper, iron, vitamins B1, B3 & E, phosphorus and zinc.
Chickpeas are packed with gut-friendly fibre which help to stabilise blood sugar levels (and fend off those “hangry” cravings), as well as making them great for insulin-resistant individuals or diabetics. Health conditions which are becoming increasingly common in those who work 24/7.
In addition, chickpeas are a great source of protein and contain minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and zinc.
What’s in it?
2/3 cup roasted macadamias
1 can chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Handful of parsley
How to make it?
Throw everything into a food processor for 10-15 seconds (I like a chunky consistency), or longer until smooth.
Store in a container to bring into work to have with crackers or veggie sticks and share with workmates (maybe?!) It’s also delicious as a base on sourdough toast topped with eggs, mushrooms and/or roasted tomatoes!