How to stay energised during your shift

Keeping your energy levels up when you work all night long is challenging, so how can you stay awake without harming your health? Discover how to stay energised throughout your night shifts – without relying on energy drinks and coffee.

A shift worker is anyone who works outside of ordinary working hours. Common industries that employ shift workers are:

  • Healthcare services, including hospitals and nursing homes
  • Factories and warehouses
  • Restaurants and hospitality
  • 24-hour services, such as convenience stores and petrol stations
  • Security
  • Emergency services, such as police, paramedics and firefighters
  • Call centres
  • Media outlets.

Shift work is essential and rewarding, but it’s not easy – nor it is suitable for everyone. You can work at any time of the day or night, on any day of the week. You’re often going to work when most people are heading to bed.

Due to the demands, you may have limited opportunities for your social life and family time. And if you’re not careful, shift work can also impact your health.

How does shift work impact your health?

Sleeping during the day and being up all night can increase your risk of health issues, including heart disease and diabetes. These risks can occur due to a combination of:

  • Insufficient and interrupted sleep – shift work disrupts the body’s natural sleep and wake cycle, which causes a higher than usual release of the stress hormone cortisol; poor sleep can also negatively impact your mood and emotional state
  • Poor nutrition – when you’re tired, you may let good nutritional habits slide and rely on unhealthy snacks to keep you going
  • Low mood – lack of sleep and poor nutrition can lead to low mood and make you more susceptible to symptoms of mild anxiety
  • Stimulants – you may find yourself relying on caffeine to stay awake and alcohol to wind down
How to stay energised during your shift

How to stay energised during your shifts

Despite the above, shift work doesn’t have to be synonymous with poor health.
Living a healthy lifestyle will help reduce the adverse health risks of shift work and help you get through the night without falling asleep.

Here’s how to stay healthy and energised if you’re working through the night.

Develop regular sleep patterns

Getting seven to eight hours of sleep a day is essential, even if this sleep is in two separate sessions.

Focus on developing a healthy sleep routine: create an environment conducive to good sleep by blocking out the light and noise. Cut back on caffeine in the equivalent of your ‘afternoon’ so you can fall asleep quickly.

Eat well

Eat a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and dairy. Try to reduce processed, sugary foods which don’t have any nutritional benefit. If you’re not sure where to begin, consult a nutritionist or dietitian.

Getting enough protein in your diet will help you feel full for longer, reducing any cravings for unhealthy, high-fat foods. Aim to develop a meal plan and eat regular meals at the same time every day.

Make time for exercise

While being on your feet all night on shift is incidental exercise, it’s not the same as working out, heading to the gym or going for a walk in the sunshine.

Exercising in the fresh air has health benefits, so make time to exercise during the day on your days off.

Drink water

Even mild dehydration can affect your energy and brain function, so staying hydrated is essential to support your mood and concentration.

Fluid loss can also increase feelings of anxiety and fatigue. Sipping water throughout your shift will help you to stay hydrated and energised.

Try Berocca

Berocca is a vitamin and mineral energy supplement that helps supports the release of energy so you can be at your best during your shift work.

The formula of magnesium, zinc, calcium, vitamin C and all eight B vitamins helps release energy from your food, reduces tiredness and fatigue and supports physical and mental stamina. This makes Berocca a good choice for getting through those late nights and challenging days.

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