Alternating day, evening and night shifts is common in the hotel sector. How do you cope with these variable and rotating schedules, especially to preserve your health?
Hotels never close. As a result, many hotel workers have to deal with atypical schedules. Unsurprisingly, according to the website of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) website, having schedules that vary constantly can disrupt family and social life, as well as health. Among the most common health problems are chronic fatigue, sleep disorders and gastrointestinal disorders (indigestion, reflux, diarrhea, etc.). Some studies even suggest an association between rotating shift work and the risk of developing cancer or cardiovascular disease.
Putting a finger on the problem
One of the major causes of these health problems is the disruption of the circadian rhythm, that is, disturbance of the body’s internal activity rate. Indeed, a large number of physiological functions follow a daily rhythm of 24 hours, including sleep, waking, digestion and blood pressure. All are coordinated with signals from the environment, such as the light-dark cycle. As a result, a person who works irregular hours, such as a front desk attendant in a hotel, often having to do this, continually upsets his or her biological clock … which, in the long run, can be detrimental to one’s health.
Ways to protect yourself
Fortunately, the CCOHS website provides effective ways to guard against the adverse effects of rotating work. On the organizational level, hotel managers, for example, design schedules that respect the adaptability of their employees: while some prefer to work over a long rotation period (1 week or more), others prefer a fast rotation (2-3 days). In addition, it is important for them to provide their staff with the best possible facilities (information, lighting, relaxation room, healthy food, etc.) so that everyone can take care of their health.
On the individual level, workers have an interest in sleeping at regular hours in a quiet and dark place. Purchasing opaque curtains is highly recommended. They should also pay attention to their diet by eating varied and balanced meals, as well as avoiding alcohol, caffeine and fatty and salty foods. Finally, it is essential that they reduce their stress level, especially with physical activities and relaxation techniques.
Therefore, there is no need to flee hotel industry jobs because of rotating shifts! There are simple and practical tools to allow employers and employees to mitigate negative health effects.