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Question
Posted by: EaryBirdNightOwl | 2011/04/08

When dinner becomes breakfast?

Hi Doc,

I need some guidance. I''m going to be working shifts soon - as a career move. Time is indefinite.

Hours:
Day 1 - 6am - 3pm
Day 2 - 6am - 3pm
Day 3 - 5pm - 2am
Day 4 - 5pm - 2am
Day 5 - Off
Day 6 - Off
Cycle continues.

When do I eat my ''traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner? According to my work days, or according to the traditional hours in the day?

Any suggestions how to stay awake during the night shift? I don''t want to drink Red Bulls, etc, as they make me crash.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear EarlyBirdNightOwl
Working shifts is indeed a problem because it disturbs one's biorhythms and biological clock. The fact that your schedule also changes within the week, will complicate matters even further (individuals who work the same shift every day for a given period, will probably feel less disorientated than someone like you who has to sometimes work the early and sometimes the late shift). In general, sticking to your usual routine for meals would probably be the best, but you will have to experiment with this to see if it is sustainable. This would mean having you breakfast at let's say 7 am, your lunch at noon and supper at 6 to 7 pm on the days when your work from 6am to 3 pm and then only resting after your supper. On the days when you work from 5 pm to 2 am, you would still apply your normal meals times, but this will be more difficult because your may be sleeping at noon. As to staying awake on the night shift, you don't mention what type of work you will be doing? If the work permits you to read or do an activity like a handcraft then you will probably be able to keep awake. Remember to get up every hour and walk around for about 10 minutes doing some deep breathing to provide your body and brain with oxygen to counteract sleepiness. Also drink about half a cup of water after your ‘walk’ to keep you hydrated.
I do hope you will be able to manage these difficult hours
Best regards
DietDoc

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

1
Our users say:
Posted by: DietDoc | 2011/04/09

Dear EarlyBirdNightOwl
Working shifts is indeed a problem because it disturbs one's biorhythms and biological clock. The fact that your schedule also changes within the week, will complicate matters even further (individuals who work the same shift every day for a given period, will probably feel less disorientated than someone like you who has to sometimes work the early and sometimes the late shift). In general, sticking to your usual routine for meals would probably be the best, but you will have to experiment with this to see if it is sustainable. This would mean having you breakfast at let's say 7 am, your lunch at noon and supper at 6 to 7 pm on the days when your work from 6am to 3 pm and then only resting after your supper. On the days when you work from 5 pm to 2 am, you would still apply your normal meals times, but this will be more difficult because your may be sleeping at noon. As to staying awake on the night shift, you don't mention what type of work you will be doing? If the work permits you to read or do an activity like a handcraft then you will probably be able to keep awake. Remember to get up every hour and walk around for about 10 minutes doing some deep breathing to provide your body and brain with oxygen to counteract sleepiness. Also drink about half a cup of water after your ‘walk’ to keep you hydrated.
I do hope you will be able to manage these difficult hours
Best regards
DietDoc

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