About 5 months ago I started working 7pm - 7:30 am night shifts and feel I’ve gotten as use to them as I’m going to. I work a repeating pattern of 4 nights on (Sat-Tue), 5 off (Wed-Sun), 2 on (Mon-Tue), and 3 off (Wed-Fri). Yes Tuesday VO2 work really suck on those 4 night stretches. On my off days I try to revert back to a normal day schedule. Now I’m trying to figure out how to best eat for weight loss/training as a recreational cyclist. Right now work day meals are 5pm/11:45pm snack/3am/8am. I’ve tried dropping the 3am “lunch” and didn’t notice much of a difference. Anyone else in a similar situation and how do you work it out?
Night work is incredibly tough on your body, and bouncing back and forth between regular and irregular sleep patterns makes it even worse. I’ve had to do it a few times over my career, and found a few things that help. One, I had to learn my circadian rhythm pattern during my shifts and I just didn’t eat anything just before or during my “down” cycle. Otherwise, I never had a specific meal time and was able to just eat small amounts throughout the night. Your body is already getting hit hard with the defeat of it’s normal cycle and my thoughts are “big meals” aren’t doing you any favors. Definitely stay far, far away from highly processed foods, well known to be around on “the night shift”. Whole, unprocessed foods will keep your nutrient levels topped and help your body deal with the added stress. It will also help in keeping you able to maintain healthy, sustained energy vs. smashing yourself with the highs and lows of sugar, salt, fat and caffeine.
I’ve done pretty good at staying away from the cafeteria at night since it only offers crappy remade salads and fried foods. I never drink caffeine after 1am. As I just finished the last real work out of SSB 2 LV today I think it will be a good time to try out just a snack of fruit/veg/nuts while at work and skip the meal.