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Night Shift Poor Food Choices – The Why?

Night Shift Poor Food Choices

What causes night shift poor food choices? Have you ever worked a night shift and just could not resist ordering out? What about not being able to say no to the sweet treats around you? Do you get a craving for something that you would not normally eat at about 3am??

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you are normal. These behaviors are normal for the night shift. What???!!! Ok here is the reason why. In previous blogs in this series, I discussed how dependent our bodies are on the light dark cycle or circardian rhythm for normal hormonal release. I spoke in depth about melatonin and cortisol and alluded to other hormones released or whose amount of release depends on light or dark.

So it turns out that there is a hormone called leptin that is released at higher levels during the light cycle and lower levels during the dark cycle. This is important because leptin signals the body to stop eating. So you can see why it would be at lower levels at night. For night shifters, low leptin levels work against us and we lose the mechanism that signals satiety.

Another thing that can cause poor food choices to occur during the night shift is sleep deprivation. It is so important to practice good sleep hygiene when working the night shift in order to not only perform in an excellent fashion but also to prevent the trigger of cravings in the middle of the night. When sleep deprived, night shift workers can have cravings for food that they would not normally eat. Crazy huh?

Quick Tips To Work With Biology

Understanding the reasons behind our poor choices allows for solutions to set us up for success.

  1. Practice good sleep hygiene (anchor sleep, good daytime sleep, etc)
  2. Plan ahead and carry food to work (veggie snacks, boiled eggs, tuna, fruit, hummus)
  3. Drink water (body weight (lbs) divided by 2 = amount of water to consume in 24 hours). Drinking water is not only great for you but will fill your stomach and allow for less eating
  4. Avoid energy drinks and limit caffeine intake

Be strong. Be brave. Unleash your greatness!

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Charmaine Gregory

I am a nocturnist Emergency Physician, wife, mom to three vivacious cherubs as well as a greatness and virtual fitness coach. I help busy women like myself reclaim their fitness and wellness mojo and unleash their greatness! Watch my story and get a complimentary health assessment here: My Story If you are like me and have picky eaters in your fold, join my Facebook group, Picky Eaters Strong Mom here: Picky Eater Strong Mom Facebook Group

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