The Impact Of Shift Work on health is a controversial topic, with some experts citing the following health risks: Increased risk of workplace injuries, impaired sleep and cognitive performance. Some experts believe that shift workers’ sleep patterns are regulated by the hours they spend in bed. It is important to understand the impact of shift work on your health before deciding to make the change. This article will provide some basic information about the health risks related to shift work.
Increased risk of workplace injury
An increase in the risk of work-related injuries is linked with shift work, according to a study by the IWH. The risk of injury from shift work increases by 6% on the second night, 17% on the third, and 36% on the fourth night. It is especially concerning for young people, who often work in jobs with unpredictable schedules, for minimum wage, or at night. Young workers are also often distracted by school or a second job.
A study from 2004-2008 of 69,248 respondents found that long work hours and shorter sleep time are both associated with a higher risk of injury. Those who worked more than 60 hours per week, but slept fewer than five hours per night, had a nearly doubled risk of workplace injury than those who worked less than 35 hours a day. However, there was no significant difference between men and women working more than 120 hours a week.
Increased risk of diabetes
Recent studies have found that women who work on rotating night shifts are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This risk may not be due to genetics, but rather to the combination of factors that lead to weight gain, unhealthy diets and a reduced amount of physical activity. Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health studied the relationship between shift work and type 2 diabetes and found that these three factors were significantly more significant than the sum of their individual effects.
Researchers noted that rotating shift work can increase the risk of diabetes. This condition is known as metabolic syndrome and is characterized by a range of unhealthy lifestyle factors. People who work the night shift are three times more likely to develop the condition than those who work regular days. To minimize this risk, shift workers should improve their diets and exercise and practice good sleep hygiene. The study authors caution that additional research is needed to determine whether rotating shift work increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Impairment of cognitive performance
Recent meta-analyses have revealed that workers are at a greater risk of poor cognitive performance during shift work. Researchers conducted systematic literature searches to identify the studies that had included shift workers and assessed six different cognitive outcomes. These included processing speed, working memory, alertness, visual attention, and situational response. The researchers also used six formal tests to assess task switching. These results are presented in the paper. While some studies were not controlled for other factors, these results show a significant relationship between shift work and decreased cognitive performance.
A prospective cohort study examined 3,232 workers in southern France. Of these, 1,484 had shift-worked at least 50 days during the year. The other 1,635 did not, with one fifth rotating between morning, afternoon, and night shifts. The researchers, based at the University of Toulouse and University of Swansea, examined the participants’ performance on cognitive tests. The results showed that shift workers significantly decreased their speed scores and overall performance on cognitive tests.
Impairment of sleep
Studies have found that irregular sleep schedules are associated with increased health complaints and physiologic markers of stress. For example, shift workers with SWSD have a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, as well as reduced sleep time and a shorter sleeping interval than other employees. Additionally, these studies have revealed that shift workers experience impaired sleep quality, which is associated with impairment in social and waking functioning. In addition, these studies have also found that comorbid disorders and shift work may cause impairment in sleep.
While shift workers may need naps and caffeine during their daytime hours, they rarely take these during their overnight shifts. However, the impairment was evident on all measures, including oculography. Although the study was small, it still shows that the effects of shift work on sleep are real. Participants’ drowsiness was higher in the middle of the night, and impairment was more apparent at the end of their shifts.