I am working nights this week, I struggled this morning after not being able to sleep yesterday before the start of my nights, but luckily I got a lift home so that wasn’t so bad and I slept in the car on my way home.
The question is what and when should you eat on night shift? The night nurses at work all tell me to eat protein for breakfast because it will help me to sleep, the last thing I want is to wake up hungry and not be able to get back to sleep. My last night duty stint was like that and I was lucky to get 4hours sleep each day for the first week, then by the time I got into a good sleep routine during the day it was all over and I had to start sleeping through the night which was of course quite a challenge.
Since the advice of the nurses at work, I decided to to a little research. I found that it’s a good idea to have some protein for breakfast, but not a large meal. Lunch should be the biggest meal since it’s after the sleep period (which would normally be the “break-fast”), and dinner should be something to keep me going through the shift with possibly a snack around 4am of fruit, crackers… Something light.
So my meal plan goes like this:
Breakfast: Cereal + fruit or muesli and yoghurt – maybe combined with a protein drink
Lunch: Fish and vegetables (steamed)
Snack: Dried fruit and crackers with hummus dip
I don’t mind eating a lot of vegetables for dinner, but I do like to mix them up a little. I listed steamed vegetables for this plan, but tomorrow I might alternate with oven bake vegetables, and when placed in those silicon baking forms you don’t need oil to keep them from sticking. Also I like pasta, so I might mix it up with a ravioli dish or pasta bake, or a vegetable bake. And, I might even throw in a hard boiled egg for breakfast to mix things up.
The hardest part of nights is exercise, but like meals I think it’s easier if you plan ahead. I did a little bit of strength today because it’s too dark not to go for a run, but soon I can duck off to the gym before going back to work.
What is your strategy when you have a change in your normal routine? I need to have a plan of attack prior. Today I was wondering how I could get my protein breakfast when I was so tired I fell asleep in the car on the way home (remembering someone else was driving it). So I went to a cafe for a quick bacon and scrambled eggs on turkish toast, it was a nice idea, but I ended up eating too much and went to bed feeling uncomfortable, and woke up still full. Hopefully my new plan will leave me feeling better tomorrow.