Shift Work Fatigue: How Your Stomach Can Influence Your Energy

As a shift work veteran and student of nutritional medicine I’ve certainly begun to understand the connection between nurturing your body with nutritious food as a way to help a fatigue-riddled body feel somewhat “normal”.

But is getting enough sleep and eating the right foods all that you need to do in order to ward off fatigue?

In a word – no.

You see most of us are blissfully unaware of just how important it is to nurture our digestive system – and by that I mean trying not to overload it with large quantities of food.

Have you ever thought about the size of your stomach? Ever wondered how big it is? Well this bit of trivia that I’m about to share may make you think twice the next time you feel like binging on a big meal.

Your stomach when it is empty is actually the size of a large sausage.

Yep that’s right. One single sausage, and considering the stomach is the most expansive part of the GI tract whereby it can stretch and expand to accommodate large quantity of foods; the more you put into it, the more the body has to divert every available bit of energy source to help with the digestion process.

In simple terms, the more energy that is required to digest a meal the tireder you’re going to feel.

You see your stomach acts like a kind of holding reservoir and mixing chamber until your intestines can digest and absorb the food that you eat. And because you can eat a meal much more quickly than the intestines can digest and absorb this food (plus there’s about a 20 minute delay before your brain receives a message from your stomach telling you that you’re full and have eaten way too much food!) – you’re going to start to feel exhausted.

Kind of like that feeling when you want to slump on the couch after eating a big meal – except that you’re currently still on shift at work!

So besides getting as much sleep as you possibly can and eating nutritious food, remember to be much gentler on your stomach. Avoid stuffing it with large quantities of food because it’s a lot smaller than you think.

In essence, think small lighter meals as a way of tapping into a secret energy source … especially for shift workers.

Unhappy In Your Shift Work Job? Why Becoming A Volunteer Can Actually Help Improve Your Career!

If you’re not happy in your current shift work job then you’re definitely going to want to read this. Why? Because becoming a volunteer not only can improve your health, but it can also help enhance your career as well!

Recent studies show that people who volunteer live longer, have stronger immune systems, have fewer heart attacks, have higher self-esteem, and have a deeper sense of meaning and purpose than those who don’t volunteer.

This same research has also revealed that people who volunteer when they’re young, are more likely to end up in more prestigious and higher-paying jobs than those who don’t do any volunteer work.

It basically comes down to making yourself more valuable to an employer. Have you ever asked yourself this question? “If I was an employer, would I hire someone like myself?”

If not, then now might be time to start making some changes.

So if you’re in a bit of a rut in your current shift work job, then you might want to start doing some volunteer work for one of your favourite charities or non-profit organisation. Many employers report that when they are interviewing candidates for hire, they now look to see if the candidates have engaged in volunteer work.

So volunteering your time could well have a positive payoff not only in your health, but it might actually help land you a future job as well!

And for us shift workers who struggle with having some kind of regular social life, there is even more good news because volunteering lets you meet all kinds of people you would never meet otherwise.

So if you’re looking for ways to improve your health and your shift work job, then becoming a volunteer might be a good place to start!