Achieving Optimal Health with Intermittent Fasting for Overnight Workers

Intermittent Fasting for Overnight Workers

Intermittent fasting (IF) has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many touting its numerous health benefits. But for night shift workers, IF can be especially helpful. So, what is intermittent fasting and how can you make it work for those working overnight? Here, we’ll explore the different types of intermittent fasting schedules, their health benefits, and tips for making it work for night shift workers.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you alternate periods of fasting and eating. Generally, you will fast for 16 hours and then eat in an 8-hour window. For instance, you may choose to eat from 12 pm to 8 pm and fast from 8 pm to 12 pm. It is important to note that while you are fasting, you can still drink calorie-free beverages like water, black tea, and coffee.

Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting has been shown to provide a host of health benefits, many of which are particularly helpful for night shift workers. Intermittent fasting can help to improve blood sugar control, reduce body fat, and improve overall health. It can also help to reduce inflammation and promote better cognitive functioning, making it easier to stay alert on the job. Finally, it can help to improve your overall sleep quality, which is especially beneficial for those working nights.

Tips for Intermittent Fasting for Night Shift Workers

If you want to make intermittent fasting work for your night shift schedule, it’s important to plan ahead. Generally, it is best to space your meals 2-3 hours apart and to finish eating at least 3-4 hours before your bedtime. Additionally, it is important to make sure that you are getting enough quality sleep, which is essential for health and wellness. Here are some examples of three types of intermittent fasting schedules that may work for those working nights:

  • 16:8 Intermittent Fasting Schedule: This schedule involves eating your last meal at 8pm, and then fasting until 12pm the following day. During the 8-hour eating window, you should try to space your meals out every 2-3 hours.
  • 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Schedule: This schedule involves eating normally for five days of the week, and then fasting for two days. Fasting days should be non-consecutive. For instance, you could eat normally on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and then fast on Wednesday and Saturday.
  • 20:4 Intermittent Fasting Schedule: This schedule involves fasting for 20 hours a day and then eating all of your meals within a 4-hour window. For those working nights, this would mean eating your first meal at midnight and then eating your last meal 4 hours later.

Intermittent fasting can be customized however you want. The basic rules will still apply. Two meals 8 hours apart, followed by 16 hours of fasting. Assuming you work 8pm to 8am, you could have your first meal at 8pm, and your second meal at 4am. After that, you would fast until 8am. This would give you a 16:8 intermittent fasting schedule.


So, integrating intermittent fasting into your daily work routine is especially beneficial for shift workers! Here are our tips for a successful combination:

  • Start by slowly easing into intermittent fasting with a 12-hour fast. This will help your body adjust to the new eating pattern.
  • Choose the right eating window based on your work schedule.
  • Make sure you’re eating quality meals that are packed with nutrients.
  • Stay hydrated and get enough sleep.
  • Be mindful of the type of fasting schedule you choose and stick to it.

Intermittent fasting can be a great way to improve your health and wellness, especially for those working night shifts. However, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider before starting any new diet plan. With the right plan and some dedication, you can make intermittent fasting work for you.

What are the best ways to practice intermittent fasting while working shifts?

Have your last meal before 10 p.m., work your shift, go home, sleep, and then have lunch when you wake up. If you primarily work night shifts, you can delay your meal time until later in the evening.

What is the most effective dietary plan for people who work the night shift?

You should include both animal products and plant-based proteins in your meals. These should include starchy vegetables like potatoes, beans, rice, pasta, and root vegetables, as well as non-starchy vegetables and fruits. For vegetarian meals, you can focus on plant-based proteins, fruits, and vegetables.

What is the recommended length of time for intermittent fasting when working the night shift?

It is best to break your fast after you have woken up from a night shift. For instance, if your shift finishes at 7am and you plan to go to bed at 9am, your initial meal should be around 7 or 8pm.

When is the most appropriate time for someone who works the night shift to fast?

It’s recommended to have a small snack but also to try and maintain a five-hour overnight fast from 10pm to 6am. Additionally, it’s important to keep to a regular schedule with the same number of meals and snacks each day, no matter what time of day you’re working.

Interested in learning more about the health benefits of intermittent fasting? Check out Fasting Books for a selection of resources on the topic.
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