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Working night shifts and traveling: melatonin should help

8/17 8:53:10

I recently accepted a job that requires travel all over the united states its a construction job and i will be working mostly nights what tips if any can you give me about staying healthy on the road? anything helps.

First of all, I would recommend to consider taking melatonin supplements. So far, this is the only proved method to adapt to your nightshift work, travel - especially if it includes the possibility of jet lag - and the need for restful daytime sleep. Make sure, if possible, to have plenty of bright light during your working hours and as dark as possible day sleep environment. Turn on air conditioning and set it to decrease your bedroom temperature well below your night-shift temperature.

Dosages and timing of taking melatonin are very important. Research showed that although 0.5 mg can be enough for about a half of the study's participants, it was ineffective for the rest while 3 mg was OK for almost 75 percent. Other trials used 5 mg with even better results. Since the day sleep usually consists of several nap episodes, it is recommended to take melatonin before every one of them for at least 7-8 days to establish a stable shift in the sleep-wakefulness cycle.

At to the staying fit part of your question, I am not aware of any recommendations different from that for daytime workers. Make sure you stay physically active, avoid fast food, and have plenty of fresh vegetables and  other fiber-rich foods to prevent your intestinal activity from slowing down.

Tanya Zilberter

Katherine M. Sharkey and Charmane I. Eastman. Melatonin phase shifts human circadian rhythms in a placebo-controlled simulated night-work study. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2002 vol. 282 no. 2 R454-R463

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