Love a Shift Worker? Share this Secret.

Anyone who has ever visited an ER or had an ambulance provide help in the middle of the night is probably very grateful for those of us who do shift work. While our world operates 24/7 these days, our bodies weren’t designed to do so, and shift work is well known to be very hazardous to human health.

Rotating work schedules that change clock-in times to share the burden of the all-nighter across a team make it even harder for our bodies to function on a consistent, natural rhythm. This wreaks havoc on the lives of our nurses, doctors, police, firefighters and other first responders, as well as those who work in factories, retail, aviation, call centers, security, hotels, nursing homes, business travelers, and more. 

Disrupting our regular sleep cycles has serious consequences for the 15% of us who don't work 9 to 5, as the Sleep Foundation reports. Not only does shift work increase the risk of developing cancers and heart disease, it also causes many issues with our metabolism. It’s quite likely that these health risks are linked to one another, as irregular sleeping and eating patterns causes a chain reaction of other problems for our bodies.

Sleep is when our bodies do their healing, restorative work. Despite being exhausted, it can be hard for shift workers to fall asleep when they need to in order to be well rested.  Anyone who’s ever had a sleepless night knows that this can be frustrating, and it takes a toll on quality of life for many people all over the world.

Healing shift work health damage

For those struggling to sleep, yoga nidra can be a lifeline. Yoga nidra is a guided meditation practice that is done completely at rest while lying down. It’s basically the yoga of sleep. 

Traditionally, we aim to stay awake during yoga nidra practice while letting our body rest deeply. However, it’s very common for those who need sleep to nod off into deep, restorative rest during their practice. Our bodies take what they need most, and for shift workers, this can be a powerful antidote to the stress their jobs put on their bodies and their lives.

It’s often said that an hour of yoga nidra practice is equivalent to three hours of regular sleep. While no scientific studies have been conducted to validate this claim, yoga nidra often helps people relax into a theta brainwave state, which is the state that we are in when we dream. This means that even if we’re not fully asleep, our minds and bodies are getting similar rest to help us heal and feel better. 

If you haven’t tried yoga nidra yet, its power might surprise you. Next time you’re tossing and turning after a long shift, tune in to see how yoga nidra just might be able to help. You can visit our YouTube channel to listen to many free practices anytime and anywhere, and yoga nidra practices are becoming more and more available on meditation apps, as well.

If there’s a shift worker in your life who could benefit from knowing about yoga nidra, or someone who simply has trouble sleeping, please share this article to help. It’s a small way to show our thanks for the sacrifices they make to do their work.