HSW 82 – Shift Work Disorder with Dr Jade Murray

In today’s episode, we’re talking about Shift Work Disorder, a condition that can affect those working 24/7 with sleep and circadian rhythm researcher Dr Jade Murray from Monash University in Melbourne.

I absolutely loved this chat with Dr Murray where we discuss:

  • What exactly is shift work disorder?
  • Why do people need to be concerned if they have it?
  • Are certain individuals more prone to the condition, based on their chronotype?
  • Details of a study that Dr Murray is currently conducting on nurses and midwives investigating individual vulnerability to night shift, and how we can better identify individuals who are at risk of Shift Work Disorder (SWD).
  •  3 tips to implement that may assist those suffering from SWD.

Links mentioned on the podcast:

For any nurses and midwives living in Victoria, Australia, that would like to participate in the night shift research study email Dr Murray at med-nightshift@monash.edu

Or search for the link to the study on the Monash University Sleep and Circadian Medicine Laboratory Facebook Page

For shift workers interested in volunteering for other studies through Monash University – Click Here

HSW 63: Managing Stress with Dr Maria Zuschmann


Did you know that working 24/7 puts your body into a state of “biological stress?”  And that’s even before we set foot into a stressful workplace!

It’s for this exact reason, that I’ve invited Dr Maria Zuschmann, a Chiropractor and Personal Performance Coach based in Shell Harbour on the south coast of New South Wales to come in and chat to us on all things to do with stress.

Having been in the wellness industry for over 20 years, Maria also happens to be the voice (and face) behind the Queen of Stress podcast, along with having facilitated 100’s of wellness workshops over the past 14 years.

So if you’re currently feeling stressed, overwhelmed or just downright ‘tired and wired’, then this episode is for you.

In this informative and entertaining episode chatting with Maria, you’re going to learn:

  • What is stress, and why not all stress is bad for us.
  • The 3 main types of stress
  • What makes some people more resilient to stress
  • 3 tips to help you to reduce stress in your shift working life and much, much more!

Links mentioned on the podcast:

Dr Maria’ website – https://drmaria.com.au

Maria’s Queen of Stress Podcast – https://thequeenofstress.com

Healthy Shift Worker – An Oxymoron Or A Reality?

Which one do you believe to be true?

Do you believe it’s possible to be a healthy shift worker?  Because I often have people say to me that it’s a bit of an oxymoron.  That’s it not a reality.  That it’s impossible to remain healthy whilst working 24/7.

Well I’m not going to disagree entirely because let’s face it, it’s no easy feat to feel all “bright and chipper” when faced with a string of early, late or night shifts.

But I most certainly believe it’s possible to be a healthy shift worker.

Because if it wasn’t possible, then every single shift worker on the planet would be unhealthy.  They would ALL have type 2 diabetes, they would ALL be overweight, they would ALL have cardiovascular disease, they would ALL have mental health problems … you get my drift.

But this is definitely not the case.  There are plenty of people who work shiftwork, and remain healthy too.

It’s just hard.  It takes a lot of work.  Self-care, prioritising our health, and having a supportive network of friends and family around you will certainly give you an advantage.

But often it takes more than that.  Often it requires us to form a “tribe” of sorts.  As in surrounding ourselves with other like-minded people who are on a similar mission as ours – that being to work shift work, and remain healthy too.

It’s why I created the Healthy Shift Workers Facebook Group.  A place where other shift workers can come together for help, support and guidance without being judged.

And it’s ONLY for shift workers.

So if you haven’t already done so, and you’d like to become part of this tribe too, then feel free to Click Here and join over 1000 other shift workers from all around the world, and let’s work together to create a ‘healthy-shift-worker-movement’ that stretches all around the globe.

See you on the other side!

Audra x

HSW 55 – Are You “Getting By” On 5-6 Hours Of Sleep – Maybe Even Less?

Healthy Shift Worker Podcast Episode:

This week I reflect on a talk that I delivered at the Wellness Basecamp here in Brisbane last weekend titled “Are You Getting By On 5-6 Hours Of Sleep – Or Maybe Even Less?” because as shift workers we can definitely relate to running on minimal sleep due to our work hours and irregular roster patterns.

What is probably most concerning however, is that right now, according to the World Health Organisation or WHO, we’re currently living in the grips of a global sleep loss epidemic and with that comes negative consequences on our health.  In fact, as stated by the Victorian State Government here in Australia, shift workers get on average 2-3 hours less sleep than other workers which over-time is staggering.

In this episode, I discuss:

  • what happens when we’re sleep deprived
  • how much sleep do we really need
  • along with some actionable steps that you can implement into your own shift working lifestyle that’s going to help to maximize your sleep.

Links mentioned in the podcast:

How To Break Up With Your Phone 30 Day Challenge
Sleep Master Sleep Mask

SLEEP: Why It’s Even More Important Than Nutrition.

“Sleep.  Why it’s even more important than nutrition.”

Sound like an odd statement coming from a Nutritionist?!

Perhaps so, but for the last 2 years I’ve been working with clients one-on-one, and have noticed a missing link in those who are getting great results and feeling much healthier, versus those who are not.

So you’re probably wondering, “what’s this missing link?”

Well it’s actually kind of obvious, particularly if you’re a shift worker, but it’s Sleep.

Because we all know when we work 24/7, sleep can be a very scarce resource.  In fact, almost non-existant on some days!

However despite this enormous challenge faced by every single shift worker out around the world, those who appear to “have it all together” so-to-speak, truly value their sleep.

In fact sleep is their absolute NUMBER ONE priority.

Not nutrition, not exercise, but sleep.

Because let’s face it.  It’s very hard to make in-roads with our health when we’re consistently running on little sleep.

And that’s the difference.

For shift workers, sleep disruption or deprivation is not an ‘occasional’ event.  Sleep deprivation is a part of their life.  I like to think of it as one of the “perks” to your job, that your employer forgot to mention in your job interview!

But let’s get back to nutrition.

As a fully-fledged nutritionist, I am by no means discounting the importance of nutrition.  Absolutely not.  It’s a fundamentally important element of our health and wellbeing, however I’m merely pointing out that if you’re drinking a turmeric latte whilst scrolling through social media on your smart phone at 10pm, knowing that you start work at 4am, then you’re pretty much offsetting all of those nutritional benefits – at the expense of your sleep.

Because it’s really important to understand, that sleep is right up there with water and the air that we breathe on the importance scale!

It is an absolutely essential, non-negotiable part of our health, which is why shift workers are incredible human beings, because they work against their natural circadian rhythms or body clock almost every single day.

But let’s compare the two.

  1. If you were to go without food for a week (which I’m definitely not recommending by the way), you would feel weak, tired and lethargic, but generally overall you would still be OK.
  2. If however, you were to go without sleep for a week, you would barely be able to function!  Your entire body would begin to shut down and if this sleep deprivation continues long enough, you could even start having hallucinations, when you begin to see or hear things that aren’t even there.

Not exactly an enticing picture, that’s for sure.

So if you’re working really hard on your nutrition and you’ve been moving away from your once highly-processed diet, then I’d like to say that’s awesome – really it is!  Eating well can be an enormous challenge when we feel continually tired all of the time.

If however, you’re knowingly or unknowingly sabotaging your sleep whilst working 24/7, then perhaps it’s time to redirect your focus a little, and make sleep your number 1 priority.

Big shift working hugs,

Audra x

P.S:  If you’re feeling lost on how to fine-tune your sleep whilst working 24/7, I’m very excited to announce the launch of my brand-spanking new ‘Better Sleep Program’ – exclusively for shift workers.  So if you would like to really drill down and find ways to improve the quality of your sleep despite erratic rosters, then Click Here to watch a video to learn more.

 

Reference:

Alhola, P & Polo-Kantola, P 2007, ‘Sleep deprivation:  impact on cognitive performance’, Neuropsychiatry Disease and Treatment, vol. 3, no. 5, pp. 553-567