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These five practices will help keep you safe and well when shift work puts you out of step with your natural rhythms
If you work shifts or nights, you’ll need to ensure you find balance
Our 24-hour society has created a demand for constant staffing and, for many, working nights actually helps with facilitating continuing education, meeting childcare needs or generating extra income.
Still, without a dedicated effort to find balance, being out of step with both natural and social rhythms can have a serious effect on work performance and physical and emotional health.
Overnight and irregular schedules can conflict with the chemical signals in our bodies governing when to sleep, when to be active and when to digest food. Built-up fatigue is then made worse by outside noise and interruptions that prevent many night workers from reaching deep sleep during the day.
It can also be difficult to see family and friends, or to maintain a regular fitness routine – activities that are critical for good health. These lifestyle stresses can impair both cognitive and motor skills, increasing the risk of an accident on the job or commute. Over time, they can lead to gastrointestinal illnesses, depression and heart disease.
5 Tips for Shift-worker Wellness
If you regularly work odd or long hours, use these five practices to stay safe and well, both on and off the job.
Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.