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attractive nurse in uniform sitting at table and looking at laptop during night shift

When the sun goes down, certain operations still require staffing. Night workers take on the graveyard shift while the rest of the world sleeps.

While this schedule provides special benefits to some people, the night shift can put stress on both physical and mental health. Whether you’re an employee, office administrator, or business owner you want to help keep your crew healthy, so that the work gets done and you feel good about the way you run the company.

Working throughout the night can throw the body out of whack without proper care. Keep reading to learn 3 tips on how to work the night shift and stay healthy.

1. Schedule light-dark exposure.

Your body naturally feels more tired at night. The darkness triggers a release of melatonin in the brain that makes you feel drowsy.

This both increases the workers’ risk for injury on the job and puts a strain on the body as it struggles to stay awake. Over time, this strain can lead to health problems, like heart disease and cancer.

Research on shift workers reveals that scheduling light-dark exposure can help. Exposing people who work the night shift to bright lights, while suggesting that they seek darkness for a number of hours following their shift, can help reset their circadian rhythm.

By altering the body’s internal time clock with scheduled light-dark exposure, you increase their alertness while helping the body to function normally without additional strain. One complication to this is that they may need to continue this scheduling even on their days off for the benefit.

2. Make sure you and your crew are well fed.

Working on the night shift changes your nutritional needs. Normally, you would sleep through the night and not eat.

But, staying productive and alert requires fuel. Researchers found that snacking while working provides the most alertness to shift workers. Not eating deprives you of energy. Eating a full meal turns on our parasympathetic nervous system, the responsible party for resting and digesting.

Providing snacks to your workers may seem costly, but, not when you compare it to the cost of workers comp from an avoidable on the job injury.

It may also help your workers find a make a journey home. Night work research suggests that night shift workers are a greater risk for getting into a car accident on their way home compared to their daytime counterparts.

They are an essential part of your business. So, keep them safe with a snack.

3. Every workplace should offer a wellness program.

Offer your nighttime crew a wellness package. The cost to do so may increase productivity and profits by keeping your workers showing up healthy and alert to work.

As part of the wellness program, make the workspace ergonomic! This means performing an ergonomics evaluation to properly assess what needs to be done. Consider contacting an ergonomics company for an assessment.

Additionally, a good wellness program might include a gym membership. This keeps workers active and strong while boosting their overall energy levels.

A good wellness program may also offer mental health counseling. The night shift can take a toll on mood, and this may greatly benefit your team.

In conclusion, keep your night team healthy at work.

Keeping the night shift healthy improves productivity and keeps morale high. Go the extra mile for the health and safety of the people who work for you through the night.

As always, the best way to ensure your workplace is healthy and injury free is to contact our ergonomics consultants at Solutions Northwest Inc. for an ergonomics assessment for your company.


Subscribe to our ergonomics blog to read more tips and tricks for keeping yourself healthy while you’re at work.Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in: Seattle, WA, Tacoma, WA, Olympia, WA, Vancouver, WA, Kent, WA, Renton, WA, Beaverton, OR, Portland, OR, Salem, OR, San Diego, CA, Carlsbad, CA, La Jolla, CA, Irvine, CA, Costa Mesa, CA, Newport Beach, CA.

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