Working night shifts is dangerous for your overall health and wellbeing if you are not careful about them. It can disturb your circadian rhythm and cause sleep disorders, such as insomnia, non-24-hour sleep wake disorder, and rem sleep behavior disorder.
Night shifts also increase the risk of accidents, workplace falls, and numerous health conditions, such as heart disease, stress, depression, mood swings, bipolar disorder, and even obesity.
Working on computers at night can affect your eyes’ health. Staying awake at night and not sleeping for 7-8 hours can lead to poor sleep patterns, increase risk of heart attack, depression, workplace injury, metabolic disorders, diabetes, etc.
Studies show that nighttime working can negatively affect a person’s eyes, leading to dry eyes, cataracts, and macular degeneration. Blue light from your computer screen can decrease contrast and cause digital eye strain with symptoms like eye fatigue and dry eyes.
Other symptoms of eyestrain include irritation, soreness, and difficulty focusing on your work. Remember, this can significantly affect your productivity at the workplace. Here are a few tips and tricks to stay awake and maintain your health while working night shifts.
Maintain a Night Shift Schedule
Experts recommend adjusting your circadian rhythm by maintaining your night shift schedule. Ask your boss or manager to schedule your night shifts consistently to help your body and brain adapt to new working hours. Consistency with sleeping patterns is essential for minimizing night shift hangovers.
Identify a suitable sleep schedule
You need at least 7-8 hours of sleep a day to maintain your health. Try to rest during your night shift for a short time if you can’t maintain your sleep schedule. You can use a diary to record your sleep patterns and problems.
That way, you can find suitable strategies or conditions for better sleep quality. Besides, if you work regular night shifts, make sure you go to bed immediately after arriving back from work. Another way is to stay up and sleep before your next shift.
If you have just started night shifts, make sure you take a short nap or sleep for 2-3 hours before your first night shift. Once you have identifies a suitable and reliable sleep schedule, make efforts to maintain it.
Moreover, it would be best if you prepped your environment for daytime sleep. Use aluminum foil taped to windows or heavy block-out curtains to block light from entering the bedroom. Some people are sensitive to light, and even a small amount of light will confuse their circadian rhythms after working nights.
Napping is a Reliable Method of Rest
Although you can sleep immediately after coming home from a night shift, some people say it is not beneficial. So, instead of going to sleep immediately after coming home, try a sandwich technique that allows you to nap twice a day and stay awake for a specific period in between.
In addition, working night shifts means you can do more things in the daytime that most 9-5 workers can’t do. Take your time to explore all the day has to offer. However, napping is essential for your overall health and wellbeing. Otherwise, you will experience fatigue and tiredness that can affect your body negatively.
Restore Energy with Healthy Foods
Most people rely on caffeine drinks and beverages to fight tiredness. Although a cup of coffee or black tea can help you stay awake, we recommend combating fatigue by consuming fresh veggies, fruits, quinoa, fatty fish, and nuts.
Consuming these food items provides your body with essential nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. Likewise, regular snacks or light meals are less likely to cause drowsiness or affect alertness than a single heavy meal.
Choose food items that are easy to digest, such as rice, pasta, bread, fruits, vegetables, salads, and milk products. Avoid spicy or heavy meals because your stomach won’t digest them easily, causing symptoms such as drowsiness, tiredness, and dizziness that will eventually affect your productivity.
Use Blue Light Glasses
Blue light glasses are an excellent way to mitigate the harmful effects of blue light that can cause eyestrain. Blue light-blocking glasses are beneficial for those who work in bright working conditions or use computers for a long time.
In addition, blue-light-blocking glasses protect your eyes from degenerative disorders, reduce risks of headaches, migraines, tension headaches, and improve sleep quality. These glasses are also beneficial for improving your cognitive performance, leading to enhanced productivity while working night shifts.
Blue light can negatively affect your body cells and disrupt mitochondrial functions. For instance, it causes your mitochondria to work in overdrive when they need rest and recuperation.
Blue light is one of the leading contributors to poor sleep patterns, nighttime fatigue, insomnia, poor mood, anxiety, depression, sore and tired eyes, digital eye strain, headaches, migraines, weight gain, obesity, diabetes, suppressed immune system, hormonal imbalance, and lower energy levels. All these conditions can affect your alertness at night and deteriorate your health.
Moreover, blue light blocking glasses allow you to maintain bedtime, achieve deeper sleep, and feel more awake at night if you work night shifts. People who work on computers or laptops can use blue light glasses to prevent damage to their retina and reduce the risk of macular degeneration or early vision loss.
Blue light glasses can also filter harmful light sources, such as fluorescent and LED lights. Make sure you choose quality blue light glasses with amber-hued lenses to turn the harmful light into a soothing and warm glow for your eyes.
There are numerous ways to stay awake and healthy when working night shifts. For example, you can drink caffeine beverages to suppress melatonin levels in your brain and stay alert.
Likewise, taking small breaks from your work, having healthy snacks, and using blue light glasses can improve your eyes health and metabolic wellbeing, boost brain function, and protect you from different disorders.