How to stay healthy while working at night

In this day and age, many parents are working at night. Whether it’s jumping onto the laptop every night once the kids are in bed to meet your flexible hours commitments, growing a side hustle, or working night shift at a company or health care setting. However, working at night does strain the body. And it can take a toll, especially if you have kids to look after come daytime.

The human body has a body clock. There are certain hours of the day when the body is at its optimum efficiency. It’s important to have a strategy to work the night shift and stay healthy while being a good parent to your kids. Here are some great tips on how to do so.


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How to stay healthy while working at night

Take power naps

During night shifts, taking frequent power naps is great, if possible. You could do so during your lunch breaks or coffee breaks.

According to studies, power naps are very effective. Power naps could last up to 30 minutes. However, a 20-minute nap is usually the best option for most people. To enhance your power naps, you should make sure that your sleeping area is quiet and away from interruptions.

While some people could sleep at the drop of a hat, others find it difficult. A great way to get the most out of your power naps is to use a sleep mask.

This type of mask is designed to provide you with deeper and undisturbed sleep. You could also bring your own pillow and a mist spray to help refresh the scent of your sleeping space.


Eat a healthy diet

When working at night, it’s tempting to bombard yourself with a lot of sugar and caffeine to stay awake. You may also be tempted to eat junk food and lollies.

But it’s essential to eat a healthy diet if you want to stay healthy during your night shift. Brush up on nutritional facts, and prepare your lunch and snacks, so you’re less likely to reach for unhealthy food or order fast food.

When cooking your food, avoid overly fatty and salty ingredients. Instead, aim for a nutrient-dense diet with a lot of protein and fibre. As a parent, it’s also a great opportunity for role modelling to the kids. If you want them to eat healthily, you should aim to keep one yourself!


Exercise regularly

Mum and Daughter Exercising

Mum and daughter exercising together

You may think exercise is impossible when you work at night. This is understandable, but you should also remember that the human body should be active.

Weight gain is directly linked to health issues such as diabetes and heart disease, so you should work out as regularly as possible. Exercise sessions don’t need to be overly long or strenuous. You could just work out for an hour or even just 30 minutes. Make it a fun parent-child activity by exercising with your kids.

A quick game of footy or 30 minutes on a bike is more than enough to get your heart rate moving. This doesn’t mean that you should strain yourself during your exercise sessions. A quick run, a short session with weights, or parent-child yoga is good enough.


Be aware of your body

You may feel under the weather at work on the night shift. This is understandable because you are working a physically demanding schedule.

If you feel unwell, don’t hesitate to take a day or two off. Health is wealth, and if you push your body too hard, it will eventually break. The longer you’re sick, the longer you expose your kids to health risks. That’s why take a rest and recover as quickly as possible.

Don’t neglect your mental health

Working a night shift is not normal for many people. Most people usually sleep at night and function during the day.

You may learn how to function during a night shift, but it is still an unnatural time for most people to work. Take note of your mental health. Are there times that you feel anxious? Are there times that you feel depressed or lethargic? If you feel that way often, don’t try to tough it out.

Your job, the kids, and other responsibilities can be a lot to manage. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it—from your partner, family, friends, and even your employer.

Talk to someone you can trust about your struggles. If you feel overwhelmed, talk to a therapist about your issues. You’ll be surprised at the progress you’ll make with professional help.


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Drink water regularly

Take water breaks. Dehydration is a danger for many night shift workers because they may forget to drink water due to their busy work schedules.

Make sure to have a water bottle or tumbler with you, and drink water regularly. If you tend to forget to keep your glass filled when you’re in the zone, keep a bigger 4-litre tumbler within arm’s reach and fill it with water before your shift starts. That way, you can rehydrate without leaving your desk. Ultimately, it will help stave off exhaustion and diseases.

About the Author

Lauren Harris is a health coach and contributing writer to different blogs and websites. She’s passionate about helping others live their best and healthiest lives. As a work-at-home mom for years, Lauren has navigated many challenges of remote work, from achieving work-life balance as a parent and full-time employee to keeping a healthy routine while working odd hours. She enjoys writing about her tips and professional advice online.

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