There are so many professions that do shift work – Hospital staff, Mining, Construction, Just to name a few. Maybe you’ve got a husband, Wife, Friend or loved one who does shift work (Or maybe its you?) and want to understand exactly what is does to the body and how to make it easier on them and their bodies?
The Risks Of Shiftwork:
• Higher Risk Of Cardio Vascular Disease
• Digestive Issues and sluggish metabolism
• Increased risk of obesity
• Increased risk of mood changes, Depression and decrease in energy levels
• Those with diabetes may have trouble regulating blood sugar levels
• Higher risk of certain cancers
• Sleep Deprivation and lack of QUALITY sleep (Comes with a whole new set of risk factors)
Sounds pretty scary right? Shift work is a HUGE part of our families lives. So thankfully for Chad & I, We understand what the other person is going through and work together to lessen the stress associated with our lifestyles.
There is so many things you can do the lessen the risks, and really control the effects of shift work on your body by understanding the risk involved and creating a lifestyle that puts positive routines in place.
Sounds pretty simple right? Well for a lot of people its actually not. I know so many people that use alcohol as a way of unwinding, a way to fall asleep AFTER shiftwork. This really impacts the quality of sleep you are able to get, and in turn makes you more prone to fatigue. Alcohol isn’t the answer.
For many (myself included) After a 12.5 hour shift, plus 2 hours travel to and from work – Exercise is the absolute last thing on my mind. Sometimes there truly isn’t enough hours in the day when you work long hours. So it could be as simple as stretching throughout your shift, doing a few sit ups/push ups/Yoga/Star jumps Or taking the stairs instead of the elevator etc. ANYTHING that you can fit in during your day will benefit you. Then on your days off you have time for exercise. It will make the world of difference for your fitness for work, Ability to handle the change in sleeping patterns.
What we put in our mouths can greatly increase or decrease our energy levels. Couple that with the fact that on average shiftwork workers lose a full nights sleep in just 3 days and our appetite increases with this. What we eat is IMPORTANT. If you are fueling your body on refined sugar and caffeine – You will feel every minute of nightshift. Eat foods that increase your alertness naturally.
The amount of people I have worked with over the years who SURVIVE on only a couple of hours per day is frightening. I am well aware the world is going on around me while I’m asleep, BUT my children need their mum to come home safe. Part of that is getting enough sleep so I can make clear choices, so my responses are quick in case of an emergency and make the long journey home SAFE. As an adult the minimum amount of sleep recommended is 7 hours. CREATE the environment for sleep during the day. This super important.
• Dark Bedroom (SUPER dark – I have roller shutters, block out curtains and blinds.)
• Cool Room, not too hot not too cold. Abit like goldi locks
• White Noise like a fan or even an app to help drown out the outside world
• earplugs (Because i’m a mum of twins)
• Follow or create a bedtime routine, One you do regardless or whether its night or day.
• Diffuse and OR apply essential oils topically to promote QUALITY sleep.
When the SUN finally begins to rise, it has a HUGE effect on my mindset. For me, it means I’ve made it through the night. That the end is near. This gives me a second wind of motivation. No matter the amount of years you have done shiftwork, it never will be natural. Some nights are easier then others, some nights are seriously HARD even when you’ve had ample sleep. If you are a shift worker you need to take better care of your body then someone who has a ‘normal’ hours of work due to the risks involved.
Here are a few of my personal favourite oils and products for shiftwork:
• MOTIVATE – the encouraging blend, a blend of citrus and mint essential oils. It’s all about getting your body motivated. I keep a motivate touch in my crib bag.
• CITRUS BLISS – the invigorating blend, AKA get shit done. Citrus bliss is a mix of citrus oils, great for boosting energy levels and mood. Nasal Inhaler in my crib back, Much better option then snorting cocaine 🤣
• Past Tense – Lack of sleep, coupled with the fact that I get thrown around like a rag doll in a truck. Past Tense is great for aching muscles and head tension. Be sure to drink plenty of water, head tension is a sign your lacking hydration.
• Peppermint – I keep a bottle of pure peppermint with me at all times now, at work in the car etc. Never underestimate how good peppermint is for waking yourself up, and getting those airways opens. I put 1 drop in my hand and rub together in the palm of my hands and inhale deeply. A nasal inhaler is also a handy little thing to have too.
• In tune – The focus blend. There are some very real consequences and dangers that come with my job. It’s really easy to be become complacent and switch off at times. Intune is a blend of oils that help to you promote concentration and really keeping focused on what you are doing. I just apply to my temples.
Essential oils provide SUPPORT, Nothing will ever replace the effects of a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk factors associated with shiftwork. Exercise, Diet, Sleep etc all need top consideration when a shift worker.