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Night Work

by Dee
(United Kingdom)

How does the eating plan for waking night workers differ from days? Since starting nights my weight has risen drastically. Any helpful advice would be really appreciated. Thanks.

Note from Dr. Dan


It's not easy working nights. Some people struggle with it. Some people can't do it at all.

There are deeply ingrained rhythms in the human body, and staying up at night violates those rhythms. As a doctor I have worked in hospitals at night for many years. No matter how well some people adjust to nights, and no matter how long they've been on the night shift, everyone is tired at 5 A.M. Then when the sun comes up they start to wake up again.

A lot of people that work nights become chronically fatigued. They don't sleep well in the day, and eventually they can never get rested.

There are some things that you can do:

When you are working nights it helps if you try to keep your schedule as regular as possible.

This means your schedule in all things. Sleep each day as close to the same time as possible, and try to include a few hours as near to nighttime as you can. For instance if there was a way for you to be sleeping every day from 6-8 A.M. it would help maintain some of your body's rhythms.

Try to eat regularly. People on night shifts often eat junk food or just snack. Take your lunch and eat a regular meal. It is important to keep track of what you are eating, or you can gain weight very easily.

You may find that you eat more at night to give yourself some energy when you are tired. Even a couple of hundred calories a day in this way will cause you to gain significant amounts of weight over time.

You need to keep exercising regularly. Even if you feel tired you should exercise. You'll find that it will keep you feeling better overall. You'll be more flexible, you'll have fewer aches and pains and illnesses. And it will be much easier to maintain a proper body weight.

Your body weight will follow the same principles whether you work days or nights. But because night work throws off your normal rhythms, you have to be much more careful to maintain healthy routines in your life. Look at this link for many more healthy weight loss tips.

Good luck with your night shifts.

Dr. Dan

Comments for Night Work

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night shift.
by: john

apart from finding it very hard to sleep, while i was on nites i stuck to basically eating at the same times as i would have done on a day shift. a light breakfast, a main meal at around 5pm, and on the 11 pm break i had a small snack and a protein drink. at the 2am dinner break i never ate. i trained the same.

yet despite all this i put weight on. why? i dont know.

my body was a wreck, averaging 4 hours sleep a day, i did this for 9 months. never ever again.

my doc told me to cease the night shift. he quoted, NITE SHIFT WORKERS SUFFER MORE FROM HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE AND HEART PROBLEMS.

i dont know the true facts,but my own experience is they're no good for you. good luck

shift working for over 23 yrs 9 more to go
by: Anonymous

It`s best to come home first thing and go to sleep til 11 am or noon, I have been lucky I can go home have a cup a tea and toast and sleep like a baby ...bombs could drop and I would not wake up ..for the other people who are wide awake when you get home try a warm cup of something or even a shot of booze (just one) a warm bath (hot tubs work wonders) a relaxing book or nature sounds (mellow music)..If you don`t have animals don`t get any they are to your neighbors and let them know your on nights so they don`t start the mower when your sleeping...if the sunlight bothers you put a dark sheet over your window, unplug phone and put a sign on your front door No Solicitors. When you get up get all your running around done before the kids are home and any exercising you do...have your supper and try not to lay down right after eating...lay down for a couple hours before going into work, even if you don`t sleep.. your resting your body and mind (learn to turn it off when resting)..Try to eat unrefined natural foods like fruit or veggie sticks, soaked nuts, beans and rice (easy on sauces,dips and spices as with my experience it causes stomach aches, heartburn, bloat and gas, etc...use them during the day)...most of the time around 4-6 am exhaustion sets in and I use to grab a chocolate bar to boost me til 7 or 8 am but I am sure there are healthier choices now...and for beverages soda, tea and coffee help keep you awake but are terrible for weight gain so I substituted Natura Vanilla Soy Milk and lemon or lime helps to make you body more alkaline instead of acidic. Hope this helps you as I have been shift working for week of each days nights afternoons(Sybil) and one year I did straight nights(zombie land but managed and tried to catch my life up on the weekends) and another I did straight afternoons(great if you want to take courses in the day and you still are in bed a descent time as I am a morning person)and now I am doing the weekend work which is wonderful (thank god for seniority)...Good Luck with whatever works for you.

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