Working night shift isn’t easy, not even for a night owl like myself who has always been up at night and been working nights my whole life. Even while in University I worked nights so that I could work as much as I needed to survive financially. Once school was over and life calmed down I realized just how much a toll working nights was taking on my body. I started to hate getting up for work, I was always tired and feeling sick. I started looking into what I needed to stay healthy on top of just eating healthy.
My whole life I have had low iron, and been on either an iron supplement or a multivitamin with iron (only mens has this, not womens multivitamins.. but who bleeds every month??? However this is for a different post) The following are the supplements that I am on now that work the best and how they help, after months of trial and error.
- Vitamin C
– Normally found in things like coloured peppers and citrus fruits, I do not get enough of either of these. No matter how healthy I make my meals, I just can’t incorporate enough veggies with vitamin C, I have yet to find ones I like enough. Vitamin C “is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It’s involved in many body functions, including formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.” I take this as a mix with vitamin D or with a magnesium drink when sick.
- Vitamin D
– This is a big one, you get this from the sun, and as someone who rarely ever sees the sun it is important to substitute. I have recently changed my workout times to get me in the sun a bit more each morning after work while also taking a supplement. This one makes a huge difference, feeling sluggish and crappy on night shift – guaranteed its because you are not getting enough vitamin D (haha yes, Vitamin D)
- Vitamin B6 & B12
– This I take not because of night shift but because of getting sick through University. It helps your blood cells and can help with iron related anemia. I take this together or as part of a multivitamin. Usually found in red meats (low amounts) and tons in shellfish and fatty fish like Salmon.
- Multivitamin (with iron)
– I specify with iron because the majority of multivitamins do not come with iron. Now I am not a huge believer in multivitamins myself, I don’t take it every day and believe if you’re peeing the majority of it out you are getting enough in your diet if you eat healthy and do not need it every day. I do however take it about once a week or if I haven’t been as healthy as I normally am and need a boost. Its more mental for me really, minus the iron being included, that I actually do need. If you prefer or need one with iron look in the mens sections, the majority of their multivitamins come with iron, however womens do not.
- Melatonin with magnesium
– I take this once a week normally, if I’m feeling particularly under the weather or haven’t been sleeping well for a few nights. Being night shift your body can have a hard time falling asleep with daylight so I do supplement on the days I really need the sleep and can’t ignore the fact that it is day. Melatonin promotes sleep, the magnesium relaxes your body to get better sleep and to help fight anxiety and stress.
- Melatonin with L-Theanine and 5-HTP
– Again, melatonin for sleep but this one is in a lower dose than with magnesium and I take it about three nights (days) a week to help sleep. I have had insomnia my whole life, made worse by anxiety issues and bad nightmares. Sleeping during the day keeps the nightmares away but it is still hard for your body to always sleep during the day, so I supplement to help. The L-Theanine and 5-HTP is for depression and anxiety. Both of these like magnesium help your body to relax and your mind feel better to get a better nights sleep. Keep in mind, none of these are miracle supplements, I still have anxiety and sleep problems, these just help. Don’t self medicate if they don’t, always see a health care professional to make sure there is no underlining cause.
- Coconut oil/ Omega 3
– Coconut oil I add to coffee and Matcha during the day, only about one tablespoon total for the day (I also give to my cat, Koro and pupper, Bear) Coconut oil has all the good fats your body thrives on, BUT it is high in calories, about 120 calories for the one tablespoon. Coconut oil also helps your body to use and absorb Omega 3, Omega 3 being used for a ton of different health benefits. Omega 3 is the best supplement to take if you’re like me and just do not add enough fatty fish into your diet. It (according to articles online) helps with depression, anxiety, eye health, brain health (hello nights brain fog), fight against heart disease and so much more.
– Last but not least I take a probiotic. To anyone who has always been healthy this isn’t usually necessary. I started taking a probiotic when I was fighting mould poisoning, starting with 10 billion and climbing until I was taking a 30 – 60 billion every day. Now that I am on the mend I have started to go back down lower and lower 10 billion at a time, until hopefully when I finally beat this disease I can take 10 billion on a regular basis and be okay. Probiotics help your gut health and digestion. With the improved digestion you feel better and can absorb nutrients and vitamins/ minerals better as well as help with allergies and diarrhea.
Do your research before starting any supplements, talk to your doctor, friends and family who take them and even browse articles online to find out what is best for you. For me, for now, this is it, this helps me feel as close to a human being I can, it helps me to function on night shift and get to the point of healthy that I want to be at, one day at a time.
Stay strong, stay beautiful, stay different!