Proper sleep, regular breaks, good exercise and a sensible diet are all key elements for a healthy life

FARMERS have been strongly advised to prioritise health issues as the summer season approaches and to pencil in ‘regular breaks from the job’.

According to Teagasc, a recent study of farmers conducted by Dublin City University, found that one in four of those surveyed suffered burnout and almost half had sleep issues.

Teagasc point out that a range of studies show that many farmers work excessively long hours and seldom take a break from the farm.

An article compiled by Teagasc Health and Safety specialists John McNamara and Francis Bligh as well as Professor Anna Donnla O’Hagan, outlines ‘the basics’ for staying healthy on the farm.

In terms of ‘the don’ts’, the  things to avoid are: working long hours; not taking a break from farming; not enough or poor sleep; an unhealthy diet and inadequate exercise. If you tick one or two of those boxes, then it’s time to take stock of where you are at.

The article in the March-April edition of the Teagasc magazine, Today’s Farm, advises farmers that they should try and get into a routine where they get seven to eight hours sleep per night.

“Make sure you set a routine that works for you and stick to it. Create an environment that promotes good quality sleep – keep your room dark, cool (18°-22°) and, where possible quiet.

“If you do wake in the night, keep the lights in your sleep environment dim and try to limit light exposure especially blue light such as phones, laptops and TVs for up to one hour before going to bed,” Teagasc advise.

They also point out that while farmers this time of the year may be up ‘all hours of the night’ [calving, lambing etc.], they should pencil in rest periods between the different farming tasks.

Other studies, according to Teagasc, have shown that almost two thirds (62%) of farmers, were either overweight or obese while 60% of farmers reported consuming fried food more than once a week.

The research also showed a low consumption rate of fruit and vegetables among farmers while there was a high intake of salty or sugary snacks.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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