Night Shift Help and Advice
A lack of sunlight can have a detrimental effect on both mental and physical health. Research has shown there is a significant increase of breast cancer in women who work night shifts.
Production of melatonin, which is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland, peaks at night during sleep. One theory is that night time sleep deprivation or exposure to light at night somehow interrupts melatonin production, which in turn stimulates the ovaries to kick out extra oestrogen - a known hormonal promoter of breast cancer.
There is also an increased risk for heart disease, digestive problems and obesity. Working nights can also lead to sleep deprivation which can lead to a number of illnesses and ailments. Many night shift workers turn to alcohol and medicines, but these can make the problem worse because they do not help the body clock to adjust to the new time pattern. They can also cause an unnatural sleep that will have a different quality and will be less refreshing than naturally induced sleep. Sleeping pills are addictive when used for a long time.
- Aim to have a good quality sleep (minimum 6 hours)
- Always try to protect your sleep - turn the phone off - try wearing ear plugs to reduce surrounding noises.
- Make the room that you are sleeping in as dark as possible by using black out curtains.
- Avoid heavy foods, caffeine, alcohol or tobacco. These are stimulants that may interfere with sleeping.
- Avoid sleeping tablets.
- Avoid exercise or strenuous activity prior to sleeping as it increases your adrenaline. However, exercise can help sort out your body rhythms. You should start your new 'day' with some sort of gentle exercise.
- Make sure you eat a well-balanced diet, rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and fibre. Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid arguments with your family/friends no matter how agitated you are.
- Allow for 'ME' time - indulge in meditation, yoga, dance, music, bathing, massage, or self-help CDs to help unwind and relax.
- Make time for hobbies. A healthy, happy, contented life is more likely if there is a good balance of work, rest and play.
By Glenn Harrold (FBSCH Dip C.H.)
© Diviniti Publishing Ltd.
2010 Copyright Notice: This free article by Glenn Harrold is wholly owned by Diviniti Publishing Ltd and must not be duplicated or reproduced in any format without prior permission. Permission to reproduce the guide on web sites or in print can be obtained by contacting Diviniti Publishing Ltd.