Stimulate your metabolism on Night-shift with feeding frequency
When we embark on night shift and flip our circadian rhythms it can be havoc on our health and well-being. There are multiple strategies to assist ease the discomfort during this process; the use of natural light, cold showers, melatonin and movement can help with fatigue. Though another strategy to make the process as quick and bearable as possible is “feeding frequency” which involves the timing of meals to stimulate wakefulness, boost energy and help reduce brain fog.
- Eat meals in combination with snacks
Combining more nutrient dense whole food meals that include a great souse of protein, vegetables and a small serve of fats really ramps up the metabolism. This promotes digestion at a time when you would normally be sleeping, which induces wakefulness. The added nutritional value in vegetables and wholefoods help sustain energy and satiety during the night, leaving you feeling fuller and satisfied and less likely to overeat on processed foods which provide no nutritional value and extra empty calories which only facilitates unwanted weight gain.
You will have to go against your natural algorithm.
When you are changing your circadian rhythm, appetite hormones are generally suppressed as your body thinks it is time to sleep. The desire and appetite for meals may not be present, though if you want to set yourself into a new routine, you will have to still eat for energy and wakefulness even though you may not be hungry for it. In addition, it is wise to resist eating during the day when you are attempting to sleep, as this will add to the confusion of your circadian rhythm.
Keep meals small and easy to digest.
If you don’t have an appetite and you are pushing food in against the grain, it can be difficult to chew your food without as much saliva as usual, and the longer you take to eat it, the less likely you will be able to get it down. I love recipes like slow cooked beef, soups, meat loaf and cauliflower and brocolli rice to name a few, and just what you need at 3 am.
Keep meals frequent.
Even if you can’t manage to get a full meal in because of time and digestion, snacking on things like fruit, veggie sticks, nuts, dips and hard boiled eggs ect. Are a great way to stimulate your digestion during the night. Helping you to resist the processed food and fueling you with sustainable energy which will help you throughout the whole shift. Additional fiber in fruit and vegetables can also help regulate your digestive system, and help prevent constipation or alterations in bowel movements during this time.
Put it all together.
Some examples of potential times to include a meal or a snack on night shift include: when you wake around 5pm or even 6pm. At 830pm before you start shift, again at 12pm, again at 3-4 am on your break, and another at 6 am to perk yourself up for handover. If need for alertness, munch on fruit and vegetable sticks on the way home. And potentially another one before you go to bed at 8 am. Using delicious recipes, can really benefit you. Making multiple meals and freezing them will also get you through your week.
By Amy Benn
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