Late at night, while the rest of the world is sleeping, more than nine million Americans are out in force keeping the world running. Working overnight is no easy feat, and we have a lot of respect for the people who take on that burden.

We also understand that sometimes when you’re working the graveyard shift, you feel a bit like a zombie and struggle with staying awake. While many people turn to caffeine and unhealthy food to keep them going in the wee hours of the morning, there are healthier alternatives.

Foods to Avoid During the Night Shift

Did you know that coffee doesn’t actually give you energy? Instead, it promotes alertness by blocking your adenosine receptors. While your first reaction might be to reach for some caffeine, that can later lead to a crash and make it harder to stay awake.

Some foods that you’re more likely to reach for, you should actually avoid. Here are some examples of foods to avoid during the night shift:

  • Caffeine can make it harder to fall asleep during the day, which in turn can make it harder to stay awake at night.
  • Sugar can give you a quick energy boost, but it can also make you crash later on.
  • Fatty foods can make you feel sluggish, and can also lead to heartburn.

Foods to Eat While Working the Night Shift

Healthy foods can help give you the energy you need to make it through your shift. You should also consider eating small portions instead of big meals. Some good examples of these kinds of foods include:

  • Whole grain toast with peanut butter or another nutritious topping
  • A bowl of oatmeal with fruit and nuts
  • A spinach and feta cheese omelet
  • A wrap filled with grilled chicken, vegetables, and avocado
  • Low-fat yogurt or cheese
  • Nuts
  • Hummus and fresh veggies
  • Tuna and whole grain crackers

It is also important to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water throughout the shift.

Keep Moving

Try to take a break during your shift to walk around. Even if you can’t leave the premises, walking around for a few minutes will help you wake up and get your blood flowing. If possible, go outside during your break — the fresh air will help you stay awake and energized.

In addition, try to do some simple exercises while you’re working. There are many exercises you can do without having to go to the gym or use any equipment. For example, you can do squats, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups, or crunches. Doing a few of these exercises every hour will help keep your energy up and prevent you from getting too sleepy.

Create a Conducive Environment for Daytime Sleeping

The most critical aspect of being alert during your night shift is getting enough sleep during the day. If you can, try to get 7-8 hours of sleep. If you’re struggling to sleep during the day there are a few things you can do to create a more conducive environment for daytime sleeping.

First, create a bedtime routine. For night shifters, a sleep schedule is critical.

Second, keep the room as dark as possible. This will help your body to produce melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy.

Third, make sure the room is quiet and free from distractions.

Finally, use a comfortable mattress and pillow so you can get the best sleep possible.

If you still can’t get the sleep you need, you may need to speak with a sleep specialist to see if something else is impacting your ability to sleep.

Staying Awake During the Night Shift With Good Daytime Sleep

Are you tired of being tired at work? Staying awake during the night shift isn’t an easy feat, especially if you’re struggling to sleep during the day. If you’re ready to get back to your night shift and stay awake, it’s important to find the right solutions for your body.

Are you struggling with your sleep schedule? Contact Sleep Dynamics today to start exploring your sleep treatment options.