Just a couple of decades ago, night work was rare. For the most part, only representatives of the emergency services carried out a night watch for the good of society.
Today, the number of professions providing 24-hour services is growing rapidly. Accordingly, the number of people who switch to night mode of work and live in such a schedule constantly increases. In this regard, I would like to especially note the representatives of the most important and necessary profession – mothers.
After all, it is mainly on her fragile shoulders that all the care of the baby falls. And if a woman also works, then she “keeps the watch” 24 hours a day: in the daytime – on duty, at night – at the baby’s bed.
Under these conditions, one can only dream of full-fledged sleep and rest. Obviously, the benefits to the body in this mode are few.
What kind of damage do young mothers and shift workers have at night without sleep, and how to avoid it? Let’s find out.
Why is it so important to sleep at night and stay awake during the day and not otherwise? The fact is that everything alive, from bacteria to humans, reacts violently to the alternation of day and night under the influence of circadian rhythms. These internal clocks are responsible for the intensity of our biological processes (thermoregulation, digestion, hormone synthesis).
What exactly is happening? With the onset of darkness in the body produces a special neurohormone melatonin, responsible for the duration and quality of our sleep. With the rising of the sun, its amount is rapidly reduced, and the spell of Morpheus dissipates.
In the morning melatonin is replaced by the light-loving hormone cortisol, which serves as an “alarm clock”. It is precisely because of the lack of a sufficient “dose” of melatonin that daytime sleep is less deep than nighttime, and, therefore, does not provide proper rest and recuperation.
Thus, turning your mode “upside down” (awake at night and sleeping during the day), we break the natural course of things. As a protest, our body often fails.
Tired of work and sleepless nights, all our organs and systems scream for help and (as they can) give distress signals.
- First of all, due to lack of sleep, the reaction speed, concentration, and ability to make decisions suffer. The psychological state also leaves much to be desired. Prolonged deprivation of sleep reduces the production of the hormone of joy – serotonin, a low level of which often leads to depression and loss of interest in life. When a person is constantly little and does not sleep well, he lives as if on a powder keg: extremely irritated, he can not always cope with emotions, often breaks down on loved ones. This is especially true of women. According to scientists at Loughborough University in the UK, it is in the weaker sex of the night without sleep that they cause depression, apathy and anger more often than men.
- The lack of a full-fledged (night) rest undermines immunity and increases the risk of getting sick 3 (!) Times. It is during sleep that the immune system produces cytokine proteins, which are so necessary for us, especially in the period of interseasonal epidemics. If a person does not sleep much, then cytokines are produced less than the norm.
- In women, sleepless nights as quickly as possible are reflected on the face in the form of bags and bruises under the eyes, the skin color becomes gray, wrinkles become deeper.
- Long-term insomnia “beats” and on the pancreas – some enzymes and hormones (including insulin) are less active, which can eventually contribute to the development of diabetes.
- Night duty entails a change in food habits and monotonous (and also far from correct) food, which postpone the imprint on the work of the gastrointestinal tract. Due to frequent night snacks, the acidity of the stomach increases – often there is constant heartburn and gastritis appears.
- What to say about the danger of excess weight! Due to the slow metabolism at night, the calories gained are practically not burned, but are deposited in the form of fat. All this leads to an increase in the level of “bad” cholesterol (the formation of cholesterol plaques that clog up the blood vessels), thereby increasing the risk of developing heart attack and hypertension.
If you find yourself with a few alarming symptoms, it’s time to take a hard look at your health. By following our recommendations, you can reduce the negative impact of a night watch.
Watch for food
People working on night shifts change the schedule, frequency and quality of food. Taking fatigue for hunger, they eat more in the evening and at night and consume a lot of fast food.
This over-caloric “fuel” saturates quickly, but, alas, not for long. Due to a sharp jump in glucose, the level of insulin, which neutralizes it, rises.
In just a couple of hours, the feeling of hunger will overtake you with double strength. And in the future, such food will have a negative impact on health. To avoid problems, try to think in advance about your nightly diet and do not overload the body with heavy food.
Exclude from the menu meat, potatoes, pasta, sweets and baking. If possible, eat fractional – make light snacks: natural yogurt, bread with low-fat cheeses, fruit, vegetable salads or sandwiches made from tuna bread. If you feel that the force is at zero and the body needs a sip of energy, recharge it with a bar of muesli.
Choose a delicacy without sugar (based on honey or fructose), in a glaze of yogurt instead of chocolate.
Returning in the morning from the night shift, remember that at the moment the most priority for you is sleep. This is a guarantee of health and well-being.
Do not be afraid to appear selfish and ask the household to leave you alone for 5-6 hours for a good rest. Keep in mind that it is the continuous sleep that is important, as soon as it allows the body to recover.
To consolidate the result, if possible, “get” another 2 hours in the evening, before leaving for work.
Create the perfect sleeping environment.
On your way home after a sleepless night, wear dark glasses, otherwise there is a risk that sunlight will invigorate and deprive you of sleep. If you are hungry, have a light snack (preferably 1.5 hours before the date with Morpheus) with products that improve sleep.
For example, a glass of cherry juice, rich in melatotin, is well reflected in its quality. Legumes and eggs cause drowsiness due to the content of tryptophan. Bananas and spinach will help you fall asleep thanks to magnesium relaxing muscles.
Herbal teas from linden, oregano, lemon balm and hawthorn will also set the body to sleep. But alcohol, as opposed to well-established opinion, is not suitable as a sleeping pill.
It helps to plunge into the phase of fast sleep, bypassing a slow sleep, which just gives us vigor and a burst of energy. So even after one glass of wine or a glass of beer for a dream to come, you are unlikely to feel like a “cucumber” when you come out of the twilight.
To prevent daylight from interfering with rest, curtain the windows with thick curtains or close the blinds. Ventilate the bedroom well. The optimum temperature for sleep is 18–19 degrees.
To create an atmosphere as close to the night as possible, wear a mask over your eyes. To eliminate noise stimuli, use ear plugs.
Be careful with caffeine
By the end of the night shift, many workers feel tired and tone themselves up with a cup of coffee or energy drinks. But caffeine, drunk in the morning, does not allow you to fall asleep. True, this is not a reason to completely (and, most importantly, sharply) abandon it.
Otherwise you risk constipation or headaches.
Move more in service
Did you know that during sleep, the pressure on the spine is equal to 50 kg, in the standing position – to 100 kg, and sitting on the priest exactly, we load ourselves with as much as 220 kg! So if your work involves a sedentary lifestyle, take your feet in your hands and try to go out every hour to the promenade around the office for at least 5 minutes.
Keep an active lifestyle
Night birds even more than the larks, it is necessary to join in leading a healthy lifestyle. True, to do this is much more difficult than to say. It is not always at the end of the working day that the strength to go to the gym remains.
And after the night shift, sometimes the only desire is to go on a well-deserved rest. Listen to your body and do not overload yourself. Play sports only if there is energy and desire.
Training from a stick and on the last legs will bring much more harm than good. Do you feel that you are not ready for feats today?
Find an alternative: go for a walk, ride a bike or do some simple exercise at home. Better yet – go in for respiratory gymnastics. Its essence is to breathe not with the breast, but with the stomach or diaphragm (breathing is deeper).
This practice enriches the body with oxygen, increases endurance and stress resistance. Pay attention to yoga. Almost all the asanas of this ancient Indian teachings are designed to harmonize not only the body, but also the spirit.
It is noteworthy that for classes there is no need to leave the house, it is enough to use video lessons. The main thing – do not give laziness to finally master yourself.