6 Things Night Shifters Need To Know To Be Successful
It’s no secret that working night shift can be a major barrier to wanting to pursue/stick with a fitness journey.
Disrupting our body’s natural sleep cycle can affect our hunger, hormone levels, body temperature, alertness, and sleepiness. I wanted to share some of the tricks that I used on night shift to ensure that I was successful in and out of the gym.
Even though you don’t have much of a circadian rhythm at the moment, there are tricks that we can utilize to help increase restful sleep.
- Try to not work multiple shifts in a row if you can avoid it. Studies show that you’re more likely to recover if you schedule days of in between your night shifts.
- Try to avoid completely “flipping” on your days off. Try to keep your sleep schedule as regular as possible.
- Do not consume caffeine later in your shift.
- Use blackout blinds or a sleep mask to block the sunlight when you sleep during the day.
- Use the same nighttime routine for when you’re on and off of a shift.
- Sound Soother apps: I personally use the “Rain Rain” app
- Try using a sleep aid to help you sleep during the day. Morphorem by Morphogen Nutrition is an amazing one. (Shameless Plug: use code DLDNATION to save $$$ on this product)
NIGHT SHIFT MUNCHIES
You know what I’m talking about… 3 am rolls around and you’re not even hungry, but you just NEED to eat/drink something.
Keep some lower calorie snacks on hand:
- Sugar-free jello
- Skinny Pop
- La Croix
- Low fat Greek Yogurt
- Fruit with powdered Peanut Butter
TRAININGRecognize when your higher sleep/lower sleep days are and work around them.
For example, when you’re in between shifts and lower on sleep train bis/tris instead of legs.
Do you have more energy before or after your shift? Listen to your body and train when you have the most energy.
Here is where it can get tricky.
Depending on your night shift “style” there are two different methods that I recommend:
2. Heavy “flippers” (people who stay up 24 hours or longer to get back to a day shift routine): Use your sleep/wake cycle to track. If you’re awake for 18 hours one day, you’ll need to stretch out your macros that long. If you’re 9 hours the next day, you’ll have to cram the food in that amount of time.
This is going to be a MAJOR KEY!
The night before you have to work (when you’re already staying up late watching Netflix anyways) go ahead and get that food prepared.
Instapots, microwaveable rice packs and veggies, and sugar-free sauces will quickly turn into your best friend.
Night shifters are at a high risk for being vitamin D deficient due to lack of sun exposure.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can be getting sick often, bone pain, depression, hair loss, and fatigue. Consider a vitamin D supplement.