According to Stats Can in 2005 approximately 4.1 million Canadians worked shift work. As counsellors we know there are many side effects that can impact shift workers.
Shift work can impact your social life and your relationships. In How to Deal when you and your spouse are on Opposite Shifts they suggest communicating in other ways. Technology has made it a bit easier to communicate through text messaging and emails. Take a minute during lunch to stay in touch. It can be difficult to feel connected when you are passing each other in the hallway. Make the most of the time you do have together. Plan a date, see some friends, do something you have both been wanting to do. Make the time you do have count.
Sleep deprivation is another concern for shift workers and can have negative impacts on worker job performance, safety and quality of life. In the article 10 sleep tips for shift workers they suggest transitioning your sleep schedule over a three day period when you have a significant shift change. Sticking to water instead of caffeinated, sugary or alcoholic beverages can also help set the stage for better sleep.
The importance of diet for shift workers cannot be stressed enough. According to Eat Right Ontario, Nutrition for Shift Workers, the worker can experience digestion problems, sleep difficulties and changes in appetite and weight. Eating healthy and remembering snacks count too! Going to bed on an empty stomach can lead to poor sleep. If you are hungry eat something light before going to bed. They suggest healthy choices like whole grain cereals or whole grain toast with peanut butter. Drink lots of water while you’re working . Try infusing water with fruit, it will taste great and encourage you to drink more.
We have created a new Lidkea Stob Pinterest board, Shift Work. On this board we have shared sleep tips for shift workers, water infusion recipes, healthy eating ideas and other information about working shifts. We will continue to add to this board creating a resource that can easily be accessed and with a click of a mouse you can start your own Pinterest board to store the things that interest you.