Dangers of Shift & Night Shift Working

The number of employees in night shifts falling victims to health disorders is rising at an alarming pace. Working in night shifts is one of the most common causes for many of the health problems being faced today. Health is a factor often ignored by working professionals. The result can be damaging and hence it requires a high degree of attention.

 

The graveyard shift may be just as ominous as it sounds. Scientists opined in a study published in the British Medical Journal that night shift workers have the highest risk of strokes and heart attacks. The primary reason for this is an irregular sleeping cycle and unhealthy eating habits. Scientists from the Stroke Prevention and Atherosclerosis Research Centre (SPARC) based in London and in Ontario minutely examined two million people in both the cities and found that shift workers are 25 per cent more prone to strokes and heart attacks. Among them night shift workers have the highest risk of 41 per cent. The scientists also found out that night shift workers were also more likely to have unhealthy habits like eating junk food and they usually follow a sedentary lifestyle and sleep irregularly. The study analysed is a cumulative summation of 34 different studies to find out whether shift workers are more prone to major cardiovascular problems or not. Researchers found out that night shift work is associated with 24 per cent rise in coronary ailments and 5 per cent increase in strokes. But irregular working hours can also be a source of stress. Erratic schedules make it tougher for people to organise convenient child care, to keep doctor’s appointments or simply to plan leisure time with friends and family. Fluctuations in income that come from irregular shifts can also be stressful for anyone on a budget.

While health is a critical concern of those working in night shifts, women are more vulnerable. There is a critical need for corporates to devise and implement safety measures and fail safe security systems for their women employees. Some studies even suggest that  women who are pregnant and work in  night shifts are more prone to miscarriages and low weight babies, though the exact reasons for this are not known.

While health is a critical concern of those working in night shifts, women are more vulnerable. The number of employees in night shifts falling victims to health disorders is rising at an alarming pace. This is coupled with injuries from ‘Computer-Related Syndrome’. There is a critical need for corporates to devise and implement safety measures and fail safe security systems for their women employees. Night shifts also disturb the normal eating and excretion patterns which can lead to problems like constipation, diarrhoea or nutritional deficiencies due to improper foods.  Some studies even suggest that  women who are pregnant and work in night shifts are more prone to miscarriages and low weight babies, though the exact reasons for this are not known. Along with these medical conditions, continuously working in night shifts can also cause deficiency of vitamin D in adults which can affect bone health.

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Sleeping patterns can be adversely affected due to many reasons. For night shift workers it becomes almost impossible to sleep soundly during the day. The first reason is that our brain is programmed to rest and sleep during the night and secondly, the noise during the day time can also cause disturbances in sleep. Improper sleep can be the cause of tiredness and a person will feel fatigued all the time. Another problem is that the people who work in night shifts cannot relax even after the shift is over.
Generally, a person who works during the day time goes home and spends some time on other activities before going to sleep. But people who do night shifts generally go to bed directly when they reach home. This does not give them time to relax before they sleep and can also be a contributory factor for developing many diseases.

 

 

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