It's no secret that in today's time and age, most jobs demand a person to also work in night shifts. And while this might still be alright if done for only a little while, it can still have serious consequences for one's health because humans aren't nocturnal. Being on night shifts can mess with our circadian clock which can make things a lot harder to manage. You end up feeling super sleepy and it's also difficult to stay alert.
But researchers now claim that there's a way to combat this issue. Naturally, if you're in the night shift, your eating patterns and food consuming cycle is going to change. But, instead of eating a full-fledged meal for dinner, researchers suggest one should opt for light snacks. Apparently, doing so can help one maintain alertness and increase productivity.
"Night shift work is linked to certain chronic illnesses and diseases, including metabolic gastrointestinal issues, ulcer, obesity and heart disease. People who do night shifts don't get sufficient sleep, which impacts their metabolism and appetite," said one dietitian. "They also tend to have a poor diet and irregular eating habits, which can affect their health and performance. If you are doing night shift, you should eat a small protein-rich, complex carb snack instead of a full meal during the break," she said.
A study was conducted on 44 people to figure out what the effects were of consuming a snack, consuming a meal or not eating anything at all. It was found that when people didn't eat anything or ate a proper meal they reported feeling increased fatigue, sleepiness and decreased vigour. Whereas those who ate a snack felt a lot better in comparison and even reported feeling no sort of discomfort.
"The findings show the strategic eating pattern on night shift may contribute to more alert and better-performing workers," said study lead author Charlotte Gupta. New Delhi-based Varun Matta, who does night shifts at an MNC, said, "I have been doing night shifts for over two year. I have found that people often complain about restlessness, migraine and headache. Every alternate week, I have seen an ambulance leaving office due to these problems."
"While no food is a strict no-no, a heavy meal can slow the body metabolism and signal the body to go to sleep. The best option, therefore, is light healthy snacks, including fruits and fluids," said one dietitian. Stay tuned for more updates.