How to avoid health risks of work timings

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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We know working at night forces your body to operate differently, and can take a toll on your health. A new study reveals that daytime meals may reduce the health risk associated with night shifts.

Are you currently working night shifts? If yes, do you navigate them with ease or do you find that they have a detrimental impact on your physical and mental health? If you have been finding it difficult to handle, you are NOT alone.

Night shifts disrupt our circadian rhythm, and this is likely to have an impact on your health. In fact, in some cases, night workers experience a higher risk of several illnesses, like heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, obesity, issues with metabolism, and sleeping issues. 

daytime meal
Night shifts can be hectic. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Wonder why night shifts cause so much trouble? Well, because they are not natural. Although it is possible to retrain your body to sleep during the day and stay awake during the night; if retraining isn’t done correctly or not done at all, you can suffer from medical issues. However, we have found a solution. Yes, you heard it right. 

A study published in the Science Advances Journal suggests daytime meals can help! It was a small clinical trial by the National Institutes of Health, which has revealed that eating only during the daytime might prevent higher glucose levels for night shift workers.

Past studies have shown that night shift workers may be at increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. But according to this study, the daytime meal is a solution. To explore it, HealthShots got in touch with Dr Vipul Rustgi, MBBS MD Medicine, consultant physician, and diabetologist, Apollo Spectra, Delhi. 

Expert opinion on daytime meal for night shift

“Daytime meals will help you stay full and avoid being cranky. Having lunch properly has been found to re-energise your body and increase blood sugar levels by keeping you going throughout the day. Thus, you will be able to carry on with your daily activities with ease. A mid-day meal is the best way to connect with your family and enhance your bond with them,” says Dr Rustgi.

Also, take this quiz: Tell us your eating habits with this quiz, and we’ll tell you if you’re eating well-balanced meals

Here’s what should be in your daytime meal

    • Include fruits and veggies because they contain enough dietary fibre, which prevents constipation, makes you feel full and gives you a healthy variation of calories and nutrients.
    • Have a healthy meal during the daytime filled with lots of greens, whole grains, legumes, pulses, and lentils. 
    • Avoid caffeine at night. 
    • Eat a bowl of salad or have soup to avoid heavy meals.
daytime meal
Having fruit salad everyday can positively impact your gut health, energy levels and aid weight loss! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Therefore, if you believe that consuming a healthy diet and working out are the two ways to stay in shape, it’s high time you MUST understand the value of mealtimes as well. 

Here’s how the night shift can impact your life and health

1. Raises risk of a heart attack

“A lack of sleep can put stress on the heart, causing a heart attack.  A majority of people suffer from heart problems. Thus, it will be essential for you to take proper care,” says Dr Rustgi. 

2. Leads to depression

Working in the night shift can impact one’s mental well-being. It can cause depression, stress, anxiety, frustration, anger, irritability, and confusion.

Also, read: Neha Dhupia urges women to open up about postpartum depression, says ‘It’s important’

3. Affects cognitive health

One may also become forgetful as there will be problems related to memory.

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Night shift may affect your memory, Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Diabetes and obesity

Dr Rustgi says, “If you are working in the night shift then there will be an increased risk of these worrisome conditions. Your diet may go haywire, and due to constant sitting, you may gain weight.”

5. Acidity

Those who work in night shifts often encounter gastrointestinal problems like acidity, diarrhoea, or constipation.

Just focus on your diet ladies!

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