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Working The Night Shift Might Be Good For Your Paycheck, But It Is Tough On Your Body

Posted December 13, 2011 by felicialavette in Lifestyle

New research has shown that women who work the night shift are overweight and are more prone to have Type 2 Diabetes. This research really hit home for me, because my mother worked the night shift for years just to support for kids. I am learning that working the night shift might be good for your paycheck, but it can be tough on your body.

Netty Levine, R.D., a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Cedars-Sinai, said that “Some night shift workers eat at work in order to maintain their stamina, then go home and eat with their families. People can lose sight of portion control.” Levine added that sleep deprivation is also a common problem. “People working the night shift may consume large amounts of caffeine-laden beverages to stay awake, then–if they are parents–they may be forced to stay awake during the day in order to drive their children to and from school and other activities,” she added. Recent studies have shown that people who do not get sufficient sleep are more prone to being overweight.

Studies have shown that gastrointestinal problems, particularly ulcers, are more prevalent among shift-workers than others. This is because the digestive system is relatively inactive at night; therefore, some foods can cause digestive problems at night yet be well tolerated if eaten during the day. Other culprits contributing to gastrointestinal problems are snack foods with a high fat content (readily available from vending machines during the wee hours), caffeine and meals eaten in a rush or at irregular times. To prevent heartburn or indigestion, Levine recommends avoiding cabbage, cucumbers, onions, high-fat or fried meals, and spicy foods.

Here are some healthy nutrition tips for night shift workers from the Nutrition Counseling Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center:

  • Night shift workers to exercise either before or midway through their shift
  • Eat small, regular meals with a balance of whole grain carbohydrates, protein, and heart-healthy fats before 1 a.m. Choose carbohydrates that are low in fat and high in fiber like whole grain bread, fruit, and low-fat dairy.
  • Eat a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with a green salad or fruit on the side. Try mustard or hummus on the bread instead of mayonnaise, and substitute spinach for lettuce.
  • Don’t forget about last night’s dinner: prepare more than you can eat and take some leftovers for lunch.
  • A frozen, low-fat, low-sodium dinner such as Lean Cuisine or Healthy Choice can be supplemented with a piece of fruit, veggies or low-fat yogurt.
  • For snacks, bring fruit, vegetables, low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, whole wheat crackers, pretzels or popcorn.
  • Avoid caffeine at least five hours before bedtime.
  • And finally, when your shift is over, have a very light meal or snack before you go to bed, by avoiding going to bed too full or too hungry you’ll improve the quality of your sleep.



SOURCE: The preceding information has been provided with the kind permission of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, www.cedars-sinai.edu


About the Author


I cringe at the thought of writing my bio, because how can I truly explain how multidimensional I am in just a few short sentences. First, I am a child of God. Next, I am a wife and a mother. My passion is Sister Girl News and educating others. The way to my heart is chocolate, barbeque chicken, and Dr. Pepper soda. My daily goal is to ensure that everyone who meets me always walks away laughing.



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