Today, I had a discussion with a co worker of mine about getting enough sleep or the lack there of mostly. With the fact that things have been so chaotic lately in my life, getting enough sleep for me has not been easy. It actually seems like an impossible feat. I am looking forward to the day where things can slow down a bit. But for now, this is my life. It is so funny when I think about it because I can make time for good healthy habits in my life, such as cooking nutritious meals for my family, gym time, daily walks, being active with the kids, preparing protein shakes and healthy snacks but when it comes to making time for sleep, I fall short…..real short. In my discussion with my coworker, he mentioned that working shift work and varied schedules could result in sleep apnea. This information peaked my interest because for a long time, my husband worked shift work and varied shifts. Logically, I would think this kind of schedule would wreck havoc on anyone’s health and well being. Where I work, we have a lot of employees who work shift work, and not only that….the shifts rotate. I always knew there had to be some sort of long term effect on one’s health. So I decided to do a little research to see.
According to The Sleep Apnea Guide (http://www.sleep-apnea-guide.com/shift-work.html) there are many side effect to working shift work or not getting enough sleep.
- sleep disturbance and sleepiness are normal physiological responses to alternative work schedules.
- insomnia or excessive sleepiness – is temporally associated with a repetitive work schedule that occurs during the usual sleep period.
- reduced alertness
- impaired mental performance
- increased accidents at work
- sleepiness-related car accidents
“In general, shift workers are at greater risk of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and reproductive disturbance, and… cancer.”
Okay, wow. Now after reading that, I can see why it would be hard to stay fit and healthy without getting enough sleep. How can you improve your fitness when you are too tired to work out? Not only that, it really takes a toll on your body. If you are not feeling it now….trust me you will! This weekend I had just got to the point where I crashed on the couch and didn’t even remember falling asleep. You know it is bad when you wake up from a nap that you did not intend to take. Unfortunately, there is not much we can do about working shift work especially if supports our livelihood.
There are a few things you can do to assist you in getting the needed rest you require to stay healthy and fit.
1. Take some things off your “to-do-list”. Okay, okay, okay…I know this is extremely difficult. Especially for me, but a least try or allow someone else to do it if you have the opportunity.
2. If you work shift work, try black out curtains.
3. Try to keep your sleep pattern regular and go to sleep at the same time everyday.
4. No TV in the bedroom! I used to be so against this but now I don’t have a TV in my bedroom. I used to sleep with the TV on every night (which makes for some crazy dreams!). You are just more well rested without disturbances.
5. Stretch and relax. Try not to do too much before going to sleep. Resting your mind is very important too. Sleep can be made harder if you have too much on the brain.
Till Next Time…..lay your head on your pillow, and just relax, relax, relax.