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Positive Energy 396 - A Perfect World

In a perfect world society would reinforce healthy habits from birth to death. In that world we wouldn't feel the need to damage or destroy our bodies to make a sustainable living. We have to face the fact that the more money and resources we have, the more access to quality food and healthy choices we have. However, no matter where we find ourselves on the financial spectrum, we can all do our best.

Almost 15 million American adults work evenings, nights, or irregular shifts. Working the night shift disrupts natural rhythms of the body and has been linked to all sorts of disease and degeneration in the body like increased risk of  diabetes, breast cancer, obesity, depression, workplace injury, heart attack and decreased brain function. If you are part of this large workforce, it's important to take extra precautions to invest in your health.  Here are my top ten suggestions:

1) Wear blue blocking sunglasses two hours before your shift ends. If this isn't accepted in your field, at least wear them on your commute home and keep them on until you go to bed. This helps regulate your melatonin levels and helps you get the quality of  sleep essential for good health.

Melatonin and blue light blocking glasses

2) Turn off your phone completely.  Make a plan for family to contact you in case of TRUE emergencies. If you're hearing alerts for random texts and calls during your sleep time, you won't get the quality of sleep your body needs.

3) Invest in a white noise machine.  This drowns out background noise and helps distract your mind as you relax into sleep.  

4) Brown bag your meals. Many shift workers have access to only vending machines or fast food restaurants. Shift work places extra demands on your body so it's even more important to eat quality food in the right amounts. Buying a quality thermos to include a healthy soup with your meal is a great idea. You may also benefit from using an ice chest in your car.  The point is to make sure you have enough good food to eat when you're hungry and avoid eating garbage out of a vending machine.

5) Shift workers tend to exercise less than the average working adult.  Learn movement principles, easy workout strategies and corrective exercises to keep your body balanced and moving throughout your waking hours. 

6)  Plan as a family. Working night shifts can cause a strain on the family as a whole.  Anticipating and communicating solutions as a family will smooth the path. How will family chores be divided equitably?  What about time for emotional as well as physical intimacy?  What about school functions if you have children? Addressing possible obstacles as a family will work much better than ignoring them and allowing them to fester.

7) Learn to say NO and protect your boundaries.  If you work nights, sometimes all people hear is that you're free during the day for whatever activities they choose for you. That's just a sign of a bigger problem.  Learning to say NO is essential for protecting your health.

8) Spend time outdoors regularly. Shift workers tend to get less daylight hours than average. Spend time outdoors on your days off and as much as you can for waking hours during your work week. Include time at the park with family, picnics, backyard BBQs, exercise get the picture.  Full spectrum lighting indoors is also an option many find helpful.

9) Avoid alcohol before bedtime.  It may relax you temporarily but it will ultimately disrupt quality sleep.

10) When returning home from work, let your body wind down, relax and prepare for sleep.  Save paying bills, discussing problems, calling your cable company and other duties for after you've had a solid sleep. Taking care of this type of business before you've slept can leave you jumpy, agitated and feeling over stimulated.

Whatever your circumstances, it's worth every effort to treasure your health by treating yourself well. Good health to you and yours.

" A problem is a chance for you to do your best." - Duke Ellington

All the best,

Bodywork, Movement & Holistic Lifestyle Design

It's not your age, it's your lifestyle.

Want to take your health to the next level?
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