Working the night shift comes with the territory in manufacturing but there are many challenges that night shift employees face because working all night goes directly against the body’s natural rhythms. The good news is that you can focus on building habits that will allow you to stay healthy and happy when working nights.
Eating Well Gives You Energy
Lack of energy is common among night-shift employees. A regular schedule of healthy meals can help regulate energy levels by providing you with the right kind of fuel to power you through the night. Eat at the same time every day, and make each meal as balanced as possible by incorporating lots of leafy greens and vegetables. Try to avoid sugar and overly processed foods which can give you a quick burst of energy, leaving you sluggish an hour later.
Exercise Helps On Two Levels
Regular exercise is important for your overall health, but it can also help you regulate energy levels and your ability to get restful sleep. One of the best times night shift workers can exercise is immediately after the shift is over. This will help you wind down and let your body know it’s time to rest.
Grabbing a workout right after a shift will help you sleep better when you get home and over time, will help you have more energy in your waking hours. Do be aware that if you are new to exercise, the energy-giving benefits can take a few weeks to materialize but rest assured, you will begin to notice more energy during your shifts.
Making Time To Sleep Can Be A (Literal) Lifesaver
Maintaining a “normal” sleep schedule can feel impossible when you work night shifts. However, lack of sleep is not only detrimental to your ability to concentrate at work, it’s also detrimental to your health. It can lead to a host of weight issues, cardiovascular issues and other serious conditions.
Many night-shifters use a “sleep anchoring” to ensure they are getting enough rest. They designate a four-hour block of sleep every day and adjust the remaining four hours of sleep around their schedule. So if you designate 1pm-5pm as your sleep anchor, you can tack on your remaining four hours in any combination before and after those hours. Any combination works as long as your anchor hours are part of your total and you get all eight hours at once.
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