For most people, a day of eating is structured very similarly,
Wake up in the AM | eat breakfast
go to work | have a snack
go home | eat dinner PM
But what about the many individuals who do shift work?
Shift work describes people who work outside of a
7am to 6pm period or "daylight hours."
Shift work doesn't just impact your sleep schedule, it can disrupt the hormones that play a vital role in many processes of the body like; digestion, appetite, your mood and your nervous system. For people who work overnight, placing a priority on nutrition is important since it can be a controlled variable while sleep is not.
So, what should a "day" of eating look like for someone who regularly works nights? For those counting their macros, how can meals be structured best?
To answer common questions like:
"should I eat overnight?"
"when should my first meal be for my overnight shift?"
"how do I keep my energy levels up on night shift?"
I spoke with CrossFit Games athlete & K9 officer Laura Hosier
about how she tackles her nutrition.
"Day shifts are normal.
Shake and oatmeal before I leave for work just before 6am.
I premake egg whites and eat those around 10am. Protein bar around noon. 100gmeat, 100g rice or potatoes with veggies at 3. Then same thing with a different meat when I get home around 7. I will have a protein shake before I go to bed."
"On the first night shift, I eat breakfast in the morning, then go workout and then eat eggs before I have a nap to prepare for the night shift. I will have a protein shake when I wake up before I go in at 6pm. Meat/Carb/Veg at 8pm or so. Then another meat/carb/veg around 2am. A protein bar will happen somewhere in there. I count this whole period as my day. When I get home the morning after night shift I will have some toast before I go to bed and count that as the next day."
What I took from Laura is that it takes prep work, planning & consistency for Laura is able to maintain a good caloric & macronutrient intake, as well as stay consistent in that intake to best fuel her body for both the rigour of working nights + training as a high level athlete.
How do you structure your meals when working nights?