Five Ways Working the Night Shift Impacts Your Health (And How to Handle It) :-)

Working the night shift is never easy. If this is something you have to do regularly, you may begin to see some negative effects on both your physical and mental health. Here are five of the biggest ways the night shift might impact you, and what you can do to take care of yourself while working these difficult hours.

Social Isolation

Working nights means that your schedule will almost never be in sync with the work schedule of your friends and family, which can lead to feelings of depression, loneliness, and isolation. While it can be easy to push social engagements low on your priorities list, it is important to make time to spend with the people you care about. Just inviting friends over to catch up and watch a movie can help you feel connected and, as a result, can drastically improve your mental and emotional health.

female nurse smiling

Insomnia

Although fatigue frequently comes with overnight work, this doesn’t mean you’ll be able to fall asleep as soon as you get home. In fact, insomnia is a common problem for people who work overnight shifts, due to a disruption in your circadian rhythm. If you can, invest in blackout curtains and wear sunglasses on your commute home at the end of your shift. Exercising regularly, wearing ear plugs or listening to white noise, and keeping to the same daily sleep schedule, if possible, can all help you avoid insomnia.

Weight Gain

Stress, lack of time, and fatigue are all factors that can lead to unhealthy behavior and weight gain, especially if you work the night shift. If you are exhausted, the last thing you want to do is cook a meal from scratch. Meal prepping and batch cooking are excellent ways to ensure you’ll always have access to a quick and healthy meal, and snacks like trail mix and jerky can help you avoid getting snacks from the vending machine in the wee hours of the morning, while you’re taking breaks on the night shift. 

Depression

Even if you make an effort to spend time with friends, overnight work can severely impact your mental health. Along with fatigue and poor diet and exercise habits, lack of sunlight can be very detrimental to your mental health. If your schedule allows, try to get some natural sunlight before you report to work. If not, using a sunlamp when you wake up can help you combat feelings of depression caused by a nocturnal schedule.

Stress

All of the health problems caused by overnight work can lead to high levels of stress. Chronic stress is always a drain on the body, so it is important to make a conscious effort to find ways to relax. This could mean meditating, drawing, drinking tea—find the things that calm you down, and make them a priority.

Overnight work is challenging, but the more you know about the health risks involved in working the night shift, and how to stay healthy when you work the night shift, the better you’ll be able to take care of yourself. For more helpful tips on different areas of healthcare, be sure to visit our blog.

stressed man sitting at desk in office

The Top 5 Signs That Stress Is Killing You And How To Overcome It

Shot of a young businessman experiencing stress during late night at work

There are so many elements of modern life that can slowly cause damage to your health. However, have you considered the pressure that pure, constant stress can put on your body? There are many activities—not to mention, people—that can cause you stress. Whether it’s long hours spent at work, arguments with family, a lack of sleep, or frustrations with money, these things can pile up over time and make you just feel weak and tired. Here’s how to tell if you’re stressed out, and some things you can do to keep from getting stressed out.

1. It’s affecting your relationships.

When you start to get stressed out, you start to get emotional. This can lead to arguments with loved ones and family members over things that, in hindsight, were never that important. This can spread your stress to others, making them feel tired and stressed out, too. If you find that your emotions are out of control due to stress—at home, at work, or with money, for example—then consider scheduling yoga and meditation into your week.

2. You’re developing pain in your stomach.

Stomach pain can be caused by stress. You may find yourself feeling sick to your stomach or having constipation, diarrhea, cramps, and just feeling like you have a knot in your stomach. This can lead to a condition called leaky gut, which can cause sensitivities to certain foods and autoimmune disease. If pain in your stomach is a persistent issue, then talk to your doctor.

3. You’re not in “the mood” when with your loved one.

You may find that, come evening, you’re just not interested in intimacy with your partner. You’re tired, you feel overworked and pleasure is the last thing on your mind. Consistent stress can affect your sex hormones and increase the amount of cortisol in your body. In summary, more cortisol equals fewer sex hormones.

4. More physical pain.

You may find that your body, in general, is feeling worn out and you’re experiencing literal physical pain. Stress takes a toll on your muscles and bones, to the extent that you can develop lower bone density.

5. Weight gain.

Stress can also lead to weight gain, as some people use eating as a sort of coping mechanism for stress or pain. If you find that you’re eating a significantly larger amount of food than usual, then consider changing your eating habits or speaking with a dietician.

For more information on how you can put an end to stress once and for all, especially if the people in your life are stressing you out, check out the course entitled, “How to Prevent Medical Conditions Caused By TOXIC People in Your Life (and Be Healthier!)