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“Higher rates of obesity and ill-health have been found in shift workers than the general population,” BBC News reports.

For years, researchers have been linking long-term insufficient sleep to a host of chronic ills, such as cardiovascular disease, digestive problems, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and sleep apnea, not to mention the poor concentration, absenteeism, accidents, errors, injuries and fatalities that lack of sleep can cause in the workplace. More recently, studies have associated less sleep with obesity.

Did you know that getting enough sleep can keep you thin?. There are many hormones that are affected by sleep, and most of them control our appetite, fat, carbohydrate metabolism and the growth of lean muscle. Knowing what these hormones do can encourage you to make a greater effort to get the sleep your body needs to keep your weight in control and to improve your overall health.

According to the survey (The Health Survey for England 2013), shift workers were more likely to report general ill-health, have a higher body mass index (BMI) and increased incidence of chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Hormones and Sleep

During sleep, your body secretes serotonin and dopamine. When your body doesn’t get enough sleep, it finds different ways to compensate for the low levels of these hormones while you are awake. The way it typically does this is by sending out signals for sugary foods. These foods cause an immediate release of serotonin and dopamine.

Lack of sleep also increases hormones which increase your appetite. Ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite and makes you feel hungry, is released in excess so that you feel hungry even if your body has enough food. When sleep deprived, your body is slower to release the hormone leptin, which gives you that full, satisfied feeling after eating. The result of these two hormone imbalances is that you crave sugar and still feeling hungry after eating, which leads to overeating.

But that’s not all. Growth hormone, which is responsible for regulating the body’s fat and muscle proportions, is released mainly while sleeping. (If you have kids, you actually may have seen them grow overnight!) Sleep loss decreases growth hormone levels, which in turn slows our ability to burn fat and increase lean muscle.

And one more thing happens when we don’t get enough sleep—lack of sleep can trigger the release of cortisol, often referred to as “the stress hormone.” This hormone promotes the deposit of fat, mainly in the abdominal or belly region.

Preventing Weight Gain

All of this information explains why night shift nurses often experience weight gain. One simple way to combat the disadvantage of working as a night shift is to make sure you come to work with nutritious meals and snacks planned out ahead of time. Also make plans ahead of time for immediately after you get off work so that you are not tempted to grab fast food or go out to eat.

The key to handling night shift hunger is to realise that your natural hunger and fullness cues are not accurate, and to keep to an eating schedule you have planned out in advance.

During a night shift, plan on eating a substantial meal every four hours and one snack. Make the meals on the lighter side, such as a whole wheat calzone made with spinach, bell peppers, sautéed onion and garlic, and low fat mozzarella cheese.

Another good option would be a chicken stir fry with brown or wild rice. Whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce and a few meat balls is also a great choice. Notice in all of these meals whole grains are a big part of the meal. Whole grains will satisfy the craving for carbohydrate, but will keep you from eating too much. Whole grains and vegetables will also keep your bowels regular in spite of a crazy schedule at work.

The Right Amount of Sleep

So how much sleep do you need? While everyone is different, aim for getting an average of 8 hours a night (some may need only 7 hours while some as much as 9).

If you are unsure how many hours you need, do an experiment during a time when you can sleep as much as you want for four nights in a row. Record how many hours you sleep the fourth night. After the fourth night of unlimited sleep, you should be naturally awaking in the morning feeling refreshed.  The hours of sleep you received the fourth night will be the approximate hours of sleep you should try to get every night.

Don’t let sleep deprivation for nurses set the stage for over eating and weight gain! Take control starting from tonight!

Do you have other healthy living tips for our night shift nurses friends? Share the love ! 

Choosing the right people to provide care is vital and Secure Healthcare will help you to make the right choice. From companions and domestics through to highly experienced Carers and Registered Nurses. Following a full analysis of an individuals  needs and preferences our experienced advisers will only use staff who they feel are entirely suitable.

We pride ourselves on ensuring  persons needing support are Safe, our care treatment and support helps you to maintain quality of life based on best available evidence, our staff involve and treat you with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect. We ensure our services are responsive to your needs and our management ensure high quality care is provided based on an individuals needs.

If you wish to learn more about how we can support you, please contact us and let one of our advisers come to see you and your family for a more detailed plan on how we can support you.

Living independently at home is something most of us would like to do for as long as possible. When that time comes to make the decision to ask for extra support to continue to live independently as much as possible, our home care services are tailored for exactly that.

Tailored Home Care services to meet all your needs

Our trained caring friendly staff have your Dignity and respect at the forefront of delivering personalised care in the comfort of your own home. When providing home care for yourself or a family member or friend, we take the time to get to know you and make sure you are continually happy with the care you received and the staff that support you.

Home care can be arranged on an hourly, daily, weekly basis or a much longer plan to suit your needs. We  provides in-home care and support services to people so they can live as independently as possible in their own homes and communities. We support people to live life the way they choose.

The best person to know what support you need to remain as independent as possible in your own home is you. That is why everything we do is designed around your needs and goals. These can be relatively simple like help with shopping through to high dependency 24 hour care.

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    What tasks to expect from our Carers and Nurses ?

All our staff can help with personal care (assistance with washing, dressing and toileting), mobility and home management. The UK’s Nursing & Midwifery Council recommends that a qualified Nurse is booked for:

  • More advanced medical conditions
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  • Administering (rather than prompting) medication
  • Wound care, e.g. pressure sores
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Secure Healthcare care can:

  • Professionally assess your needs
  • Identify any risk to client or staff (e.g. from manual handling tasks)
  • Work with your local GP and District Nurse, if appropriate
  • Create (with your full input) a detailed Care Plan.

If you are still unsure about what type of staff you need please feel free to contact us speak to an adviser or contact your local GP or care professional.

Contact our Homecare Department:
Call us on 01902 302017 or write us to homecare@securehealthcaresolutions.co.uk