Saturday, March 31, 2012

A proper midnight shift diet

Hi Friends;
  As some of you know, I work midnight shift.  I like my job, for the most part, but I don't like the effect it has had on my body.  I don't sleep well at all, I eat poorly, and I can consume coffee in buckets only to still be sleepy. 
  One of my goals this year is to get a grip on my weight problem.  I'm about 100 pounds over weight, spread over a 6'5" body - not too terrible but still not very attractive or healthy.  A portion of that is due to the sleep problems and metabolism problems, but a great deal is due to very poor decisions as well.  So, as I begin to research this and try to find my way, I will post things now and again. Wish me luck.

I found the following on the web.  It's not my writing, but it seems good information.
Posted on March 24, 2012

For us midnight shifters, its often hard to come up with a meal that will satisfy us all night long and not leaving us with a stomach ache. The Center of Disease and Control states that 3rd shifters experience a higher rate of digestive problems than “normal people”. Well, why is this? The answer is that the body’s digestive system slows down at night, and this poses a problem when we eat greasy, fatty foods during our shift. These foods can trigger digestive problems such as heart burn or acid reflux. This is where it turns into a nasty cycle. Who relies on coffee or soda to stay awake during the shift? Who drinks this stuff the entire shift? The problem this creates is we are not tired when we get home. Add this to the heart burn and you’re in for a full day of broken sleep. The lack of sleep can cause an increased risk of Heart Disease, Diabetes and a decreased ability to fight off infections. This might be why we see more sick call outs from midnight shifters.

So what can we do?

Focus on Complex Carbohydrates and Vitamin D-Rich foods. It is obvious that we have less exposure to sunlight than everyone else, no, the florescent lights and computer monitors do not make up for this lack of Vitamin D.

Foods such as Oat Meal, Cereals, Milk…they are all high in Vitamin D. Eating foods high in Vitamin D will help your body produce the needed hormones to function properly and will also assist the bones with absorbing calcium. Complex Carbohydrates are high in fiber. Fiber is proven to improve digestion, stabilize your blood sugar, keep your energy at an even level all while keeping you satisfied longer. These carbs take longer to break down and will release a steady stream of energy for a longer time, lasting your entire shift.

It is suggested that you make your meals ahead of time, maybe at the beginning of the week. Separate them out in portion sized containers. Its all about portions. Also, pack some bottled water instead of sodas or drinks high in sugar. If you must have a soda or iced tea, pack a diet soda or unsweetened tea. Along with your meal, be sure to pack a healthy, light snack. AVOID THE VENDING MACHINE!!!

A list of some Complex Carbs






Brown Rice




Skim Milk




Dill Pickles

Low Fat Yogurt

Now, on to the exercise part…bla…

It is best to work out before your shift. Working out in the morning before going home will make it much more difficult to fall asleep. Find a gym with a 24 hour membership to join.

So, in conclusion…remember these things. No greasy foods, they mess up your digestive system, making it harder to sleep, giving you more health risks. Eat Complex Carbs and Vitamin D-Rich foods. NO coffee and NO sugar. Exercise before your shift and stretch and walk for a few minutes during your shift.


Scottie said...

Hello Randy...may I add on thing...stick to a schedule. Get up the same time and go to bed the same time every day if possible. I find that helps me to be able to get up easy at 4:30 AM on work DAYS IF I don't lay in bed till 8 on off days. I don't get up quite so early but do get up as early as I wake up. That way my body is use to it.

Ron does it differently. He hates to get up. So on off days he sleeps in until 9 or so...and on work days it is hard to get him up so early.

One other point...I have lost over 50 pounds but am to the point where I have to exercise if I want to lose more and shape it. I dislike that idea also. So I am thinking how I can do it and still be happy. For me it is a treadmill in from of the tv.
Hugs, Scottie

randy said...

Boy, talk about an exercise in going no where fast....

Hi Scottie;
Yeah, that is my goal. For instance, last night I was up until almost 4, even though it was my night off. I need to find a way to establish a schedule...not easy to do when visitors come or on days off. People don't seem to understand why I would need to go to bed at 3:00 in the afternoon.... kid must be lazy.