Psychological Effects of Working Night Shifts on Mental Health
In some professions, you are required to work night shift. According to the study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicines, when 20, 000 women who worked night shifts were evaluated, it was found that they have more chances to suffer from breast cancer than women who did not work night shifts.
When you work night shift for a longer period, it can cause a psychological disorder called Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD). The symptoms of SWSD are:
- Dry and dull skin
- Hair fall
- Lack of concentration
- Lack of sleep or disturbed sleep
- Short temper
Ayurveda says that when you remain awake at night for long periods continuously, the vata dryness in the body is increased. So, to balance this condition, it is recommended that you have a teaspoon of ghee when you go out for work at night. Side effects of night shift also include damage to your nervous system and strain.
Taking adaptogens is considered one of the best ways to combat chronic stress. Ashwagandha is one of the most popular adaptogens. It can support the energy in the body and also calm your nervous system. This way you will get a good sleep.
Health Tips and Advice for Night Shift Workers:
Oiling hair regularly:
You have to take good care of your hair as you are likely to suffer from hair fall problems when you work night shift. Apply good quality hair oil regularly on our scalp and the entire length of your hair and massage your scalp well. Some of the Ayurvedic hair oils that are good for you are Bhringa Amalaka Taila and Brahmi Taila.
Steam therapy benefits for body:
You can go for a body massage or a steam therapy once in a week or twice in a month. This will help in making your body relaxed. You can increase the flow of blood in your body and get relief from various body pains with body massage and steam therapy.
Sleep more on weekends:
As you are not able to get proper sleep during the week days, make use of the weekends and holidays to get maximum sleep. Make sure that you sleep as much as you can during these days. This can relieve you from stress and make you feel fresh and rejuvenated.
Sleep well at night:
Another symptom of Shift Work Sleep disorder is disturbed sleep. So, make sure that you have made your room ready for getting a good sleep without any disturbances. See that your room is dark enough and make sure that there is nothing to disturb your peaceful sleep. Keep your mobile phone and other gadgets outside your bedroom as they can distract you and interfere with your sleep.
Yoga for good sleep:
Yoga is a good remedy for keeping you calm and relaxed. Try to perform simple and basic yoga asanas like Vajrasana or Pranayama. Practice them for a couple of minutes every day. These yoga asana can help you from getting irritated and also increase your concentration power.
Diet Plan Tips for Night Shift Workers:
Avoid Eating oily food at night:
You must try not to have any oily foods when you go for night shift. This can make you feel bloated and heavy in the stomach. Oily foods can also cause acidity.
Eat only healthy snacks:
It is very common that you feel hungry at night even after you have had your dinner. Whenever you feel hungry, try to consume healthy snacks like peanuts, flaxseeds, roasted almonds, uppuma or poha, instead of having pizzas and burgers. This can prevent you from overeating and help in maintaining your weight.
Eat foods rich in antioxidants:
Antioxidants are very important for your body. They are essential for your health. Include foods with vibrant colors in your diet, like berries, green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits.
How to schedule meals:
Generally the last meal of your day is the dinner. After that you have food only in the morning. But when you work night shifts, your cycle starts with dinner. So, if you have to go for work at 7 pm or later than that, you must never try to compensate it by thinking that you will have dinner at midnight. Instead, try to have your dinner first and then go for work.
However, if your shift starts from 4 pm or 5 pm and gets over by 1 am, then you may have dinner at 7.30 – 8 pm. It is very important that you maintain proper dinner timings when you work night shifts. Many people think that having dinner may put them off to sleep. So, they go for work without having their dinner. But it is not a good habit. It can affect your health and your performance.
Sleeping after dinner:
If you feel sleepy after dinner and you are very concerned about it, then you can have a light dinner like brown rice with some dal or vegetables. You can also eat idli or uppuma. Make sure that you include in enough of vegetables in your dinner as this can help you avoid acidity.
Too much caffeine is not good:
It is often seen that people drink too many cups of tea or coffee to remain awake at night when they are on night shift jobs. This habit is not good for your health. If you want to remain active, you have to keep your body well hydrated. This is possible only by drinking water and juices every half an hour. So, instead of drinking tea and coffee, try to drink lots of water and juices. This will help you to stay active and do your work well.
So, follow the tips given above and try to keep yourself healthy and active even after your night shift.