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Does Working Night Shift Affect Your Health?

August 29, 2013

Getting a full eight hours sleep is no easy task, but it is especially hard for people who have to work during the night. Other than the obvious issues of working through the sleep hours, night shift is also believed to have several negative effects on a persons health. This is because sleep quality and health are linked and people who are sleep deprived often see their health suffer.

Physical and Emotional Health is Affected... 

It has been found in a number of studies that night shift workers actually feel more isolated on a social level than people who work in “normal” core hours. It is believed that this is because people who work while the rest of the world is sleeping might suffer from subconscious feelings of seclusion. This is because workers who work during “off-peak’ hours miss out on social events such as going to braai’s and watching rugby.  

Working Nights is Tough!

Work is hard, but working night shifts is even harder! This is because it is not easy to make the transition between working during the daylight hours and working at night. This is because changing to a night shift routine turns your circadian rhythm upside down and for first week or so it is very hard to manage with daily tasks. Some people even experience bouts of insomnia during this period because their body has not yet adjusted to their new sleep/work schedule. 

Did you know? Night shift workers are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases. Plus, women who work the night shift are also at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  

If you are working night shifts, it is still important to get a good nights sleep. Here are a few tips on how to do this:

  • If you have to sleep when the sun is out, a smart purchase would be either an eye mask or room darkening shades. This will help you create a sleeping environment that is as dark as possible.
  • Always have a pillow that comfortably supports your preferred sleeping position.
  • A white noise machine is a good investment and will drown out any everyday sounds that could keep you awake.

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