Are You Eating Real Food, Or Lab Food?

Are you eating food made out a laboratory … AKA lots of ultra-processed, refined and sugar-laden foods, or more whole, real foods designed by Mother Nature?

Because apart from the fact the body struggles to break down and digest these types of “foods”, according to a French study published in JAMA (2019), for every 10% portion of our diet that’s made up of processed foods, our risk of developing diabetes jumps up another 15% right along with it.

Now this might not sound earth-shattering, but if you are a shift worker, this percentage rises even more as sleep deprivation, alone, disrupts the regulation of blood sugar levels.

This is because if you’re awake when you’re not meant to be (AKA the life of EVERY shift worker on the planet!), it leads to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which raises blood sugar levels.

The body does this because when you’re sleep deprived, it senses that your life is in danger.

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Why Healthy Fats Are Good For Those Experiencing Sleep Disruption.

It’s pretty crazy to think that as recently as the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s we were led to believe that fat was bad for us. But this whole fat-is-bad-for-us theory was actually based on very biased research by the now discredited-researcher, Ancel Keys, as he handpicked data to prove his hypothesis that diets rich in fat raised cholesterol and caused heart disease.

The thing is, our body needs fat and cholesterol to help facilitate a number of important physiological processes in the body such as in the manufacture of sex hormones which are critical not only for fertility, but for energy as well.

Ahh energy. Something that seems to vanish soon after commencing shift work as I’m sure you can relate!

There are also fats that are referred to as “essential” fats, meaning they are essential that we consume every day because the human body cannot create these fats from other substances inside ourselves, or other substances that we might consume.  So we must consume these essential fats every day.

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HSW 67 – Sleep Debt: What Is It, And How Can We Minimise It with Audra Starkey

In this episode I go solo and discuss a phenomenon called ‘Sleep Debt’, which given the irregular hours and rotational rosters that many shift workers are required to work, is a situation experienced by many who work 24/7.

In this episode you’re going to learn:
– What exactly is ‘sleep debt’, and why are shift workers prone to it.
– Some of the short-term and long-term effects of sleep debt
– The million dollar question – can we pay it back?
– Some tips and strategies to help reduce and minimise this sleep debt

Links mentioned on the podcast:

For more information about Audra’s Healthy Shift Workers Workshops, email Audra at audra@healthyshiftworker.com

HSW 64 – Low Carb and High Fat with Sports Nutritionist Steph Lowe

In today’s episode of The Healthy Shift Worker podcast we’re joined by Steph Lowe who is a Sports Nutritionist, triathlete, author and founder of The Natural Nutritionist – a hub for celebrating the importance of real food.

Steph talks to us about the importance of eating more real food – otherwise known as JERF, which encompasses more of a low carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF) style of eating and it’s associated health benefits including balancing blood sugar.

Given blood sugar dysregulation is common in those who are sleep deprived, adopting more of this “real food” approach can be key for anyone working 24/7 as it can help to mitigate some of the poor health outcomes associated with consuming high amounts of  processed sugars and carbohydrates – which let’s face it, forms a significant part of many shift worker’s diet!

In this episode you’re also going to learn why counting calories and following a low fat diet is not ideal, and how it can contribute in the decline of our mental and physical wellbeing.

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Steph’s website – The Natural Nutritionist

The Natural Nutritionist Instagram

Steph’s Build Your Plate Guideline

Do You Really Understand The Consequences of Poor Sleep?

Yesterday I was talking to a potential client, who was bit unsure and hesitant about working with me, so I decided to ask her a few questions regarding her current lifestyle habits.

Because let’s face it, our diet and lifestyle habits are often one of the firsts thing to turn pear- shaped when we begin working 24/7!

But I also I asked her this question:

“Do you really understand some of the consequences of poor sleep?  Like really understand some of the consequences?”

Like many shift workers – she didn’t.

I mean she’d certainly heard about them, but had chosen to either ignore them or had gone into “oh, that won’t happen to me mode” – like so many people who work 24/7 do.

So let’s share some of the consequences of poor and/or insufficient sleep – and how it raises your risk of developing certain health conditions:

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Weight Gain
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cognitive Decline
  • Depleted Immune system
  • Strained Relationships … to name a few!

Not to mention, we’re more likely to become reliant on sleep medications – many of which are not designed for long term use, and can come with some nasty side-effects.

Worse still, when we haven’t had sufficient quality sleep – we’re prone to making mistakes and/or being involved in an accident when we’re tired.

Multiple studies have shown that even moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments equivalent to those of alcohol intoxication.   After 17 to 19 hours without sleep, performance is equivalent or worse than that of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.05 percent.  This effectively makes you a drunk driver – without having a single drop of alcohol.

So please keep this in mind the next time you decide to sign up for a double shift!

Quite simply, there isn’t one area of your life that IS NOT affected by lack of sleep.

Now if you’ve been following my work for a while, you know that your health is important to me.  Gosh, I even walked away from a career that I loved, in order to go back to “school” and learn all that I could about shift work health, so that I could then go on, and help as many people as I could.

Right now, I’m looking for a handful of people who are committed to taking care of their sleep (and health), and are prepared to do whatever it takes NOT TO become one of the “sleep deprived statistics” that I’ve shared above.

On the other hand, if you don’t care about raising your risks of developing cardiovascular disease, gaining weight, developing Type 2 Diabetes and/or having a depleted immune system – at least do it for the sake of your relationships and/or family.  I’m sure they don’t want you to become one of those statistics – even if you don’t!

And now for the good news.

I’ve just opened up limited spots for the beta launch of my ‘7 Day Better Sleep Kickstart Program’ to take people through a step-by-step process to improve their sleep – despite working 24/7.

So if you care about your health, then let’s talk.

Book your Better Sleep Strategy session with me today (it’s Free!) by Clicking Right Here – and let’s get your sleep (and health) sorted once and for all!

Audra x

P.S:  If you don’t believe me when I say that sleep affects us in this way, feel free to read the research article below as it goes into great detail of some of the short-term and long-term health consequences of poor sleep.  The reality is, we can no longer afford to ignore the importance of sleep, and how it affects our overall health and wellbeing.  If we do, it’s only a matter of time before our health begins to suffer.

 

Reference:

Medic, G, Wille, M & Hemels, M 2017, ‘Short and long-term health consequences  of sleep disruption’, Nature and Science of Sleep, vol. 9, pp. 151-161.