Majority of the people working around trying their best to meet the deliverable s have one time or the other slacked their hours working in night shifts. And if you think that working shifts only disrupts your peaceful sleep, you are completely mistaken. The effects of night shift on health are adverse, more than what you could possibly even think of.
The side effects of night shift on body doesn’t just limit to the physical well being but does have impossible impacts on one’s overall mental well being as well. You might not even realize this but projecting your body to hours of no sleep can end up degrading your health for the worse.
By the end of this article, you will have a fair share of knowledge about the long term effects of night shift on the body and how you can avert the same effectively.
Impacts of Night Shift Work on health
When it comes to discussing about the side effects of night shift on body, the possibilities are quite extensive, one that not many are even aware of. If you have been struggling to cope with the condition, it is important to first know about the kind of implications that they impose on one’s health.
Some of the health effects of night shift include:
1. Disruption of Natural Sleep Cycle
Sleep is a quintessential part of your life. It is very important to understand that the lack of sleep has the capability of imposing a plethora of negative impacts on the body which can otherwise be averted.
Night shifts are hard to manage and get through and the main negative implication that it has on the body is that it ends up disrupting the overall sleep cycle of the body.
Sleeping is the time when the body not just relaxes but also gets rid of the toxins, repairs any injury and even fights off the overwhelming string of stress that many face through. When you are working in the night shift, your body doesn’t get the chance to go through those essential processes.
This is what ends up being and causing a problem for your overall health.
2. Increased risk of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is one of the widely increasing diseases that majority of the women around are suffering from. You’d be surprised to know that women who work night shifts do increase their risk of developing breast cancer.
Studies and statistics have found that women who work at night shifts are at a heightened risk of developing breast cancer in comparison to the ones who work in day shifts.
The starking factor about this has been found that it doesn’t matter if the person is working in the night shift once a week or every day during the week, the impacts and side effects are not necessarily anything different.
3. Heightened risks of depression
You might not necessarily sense this but one of the negative effects of night shift on one’s health is that it impacts your mental health. Shift work disorder often primarily induces feeling of being depressed (R) in an individual, mainly because of the lack of sleep and the heightened rate of exertion on one’s health.
Even a couple of studies (R) have found that the people working in night shifts are at a heightened risk of developing problems related to depression and other mental health issues altogether.
Researchers believe that the same is mainly because of the fact that the lack of proper sleep brings about tiredness and fatigue in the body which is the main reason behind this condition altogether.
4. Increased risks of heart attack
Heart attack is gradually gaining a rapid momentum in the rate that it is affecting people around. While the normal diet and lifestyle that we follow does have quite a lot of contributing impacts on the same, it is believed that the effects of night shift make the condition even worse.
In order to fight through the condition, it is important to understand that night shift workers are at a heightened risk of developing heart diseases and even experience heart attacks if the situation does persist all along.
In a conducted study (R) published under the British Medical Journal in the year of 2012 found that people working in a night shift has a 7% heightened risk in terms of developing cardiovascular diseases and even heart attack.
While the researchers were not able to exactly pinpoint the particular reason behind the same, they do believe that the changes in the sleep habits and cycle of an individual is what ends up causing a problem altogether because it alters the blood pressure as well as the circulation around the body.
5. Alters Metabolism of the body
Metabolism of the body does have quite a lot of impact on one’s overall well being. While many often correlate the same with just the body weight, the condition does run deeper than that.
One of the long term effects of night shift have been found that it alters the normal metabolism of the body, without you knowing or even realizing.
The metabolism of the body (R) is dependent on the hormonal interactions. People who work in night shift have a reduced level of leptin in their body which has been found to have altered impacts on the overall weight, blood sugar and even insulin levels.
Because of the hampered production of the leptin hormone in the body, the body is subjected to altered metabolism as well. This is what ends up being a problem altogether for the metabolism and the functioning of the body.
6. Increases the risk of gastrointestinal problem
If you are working in night shift, the same does have impacts on the overall prospect of digestion and gastrointestinal issues in the body. Studies have shown that sleeping is the time when the body gets rid of the toxins and the other issues that many people often suffer from when it comes to the digestion of an individual.
Lack of proper sleep cycle or even the side effects of night shift on body is the fact that it ends up impacting the overall gastrointestinal issues causing problems like diarrhea and ulcers.
The lack of proper digestion and absorption of the essential nutrients around in the body does have the capability of ending up leading to further complications in the body.
7. Heightened risks of obesity
People working in night shifts are more prone to gaining weight and suffer under the clasp of obesity that many often time suffers from. It is important to understand that the risk of obesity also simultaneously increases the associated risks with the diabetes too.
For the most part, this issue with the induction of the weight gain and obesity is mainly because of the hormonal disbalance in the body.
The lack of proper hormone balance ends up causing issues, mainly with the metabolism of the body which has been found to have impacts in increasing the risks associated with obesity and henceforth, diabetes as well.
8. Suppressed secretion of melatonin
Melatonin is the hormone which promotes better sleep cycle in our body. You’d be surprised to know this for a fact that one of the health effects of night shift is the fact that it alters and hinders the smooth and optimal secretion of the hormone, melatonin in the body.
The lack of proper levels of melatonin in the body has been found to have negative impacts on the overall sleep cycle, thus preventing people from being able to get a good quality of sleep during the day.
The reversal of the dark and the light during and after the day and night has been found to have negative impacts on the body’s biological clock. The supra chiasmatic nucleus ends up inhibiting the normal functioning of the biological clock, thus causing further issues with one’s health.
9. Lack of Vitamin D
While majority of the people often tend to take the impacts and functions of Vitamin D very casually, this is one of those micronutrients which definitely has a lot of beneficial impacts on our body. One of the primary effects of night shift on health is the fact that it makes the body secrete or get the optimal levels of Vitamin D that it needs.
As your sunlight exposure decreases with the days, it does become very apparent that the Vitamin D in the body also diminishes with the passing days. It is very important to ensure that you do keep this into consideration as the same does play a very crucial role in the management of the optimal levels of Vitamin D in the body.
10. Heightened risks of injury
People working in night shifts are working against their biological clock, moulding their own body to fit in for generating the perfect result. That is not necessarily how everything works.
One of the most common negative effects of night shift is the fact that it ends up increasing the risks associated with the workplace injury that many often tend to often complain about. If you are trying to seek the major impacts of the night shift on your health, this has to be one of them, without a speck of doubt.
Especially if you are starting off new in this shift and you are accustomed with a body which works better during the day time, it is important to understand that even if you try to keep yourself awake and alert, your body is most definitely going to shut down.
This often time leads to lack of focus, attention and in turn, productivity. This ends up increasing the risks associated with the normal work flow.
How To Cope With The Shift Work Disorder?
If you are someone who works night shift, there isn’t much you can do about it, right? Because, afterall, we need the money and the experience that the job provides with.
Everything said, there are actually a few coping mechanisms that you can opt for that work like magic without any doubt. In here, we are going to be telling you the best ways to get rid of the impact of night shift work on health.
1. Manage your sleeping patterns
The very first and possibly the most important and easy way to combat the negative effects of night shift is by getting your sleeping pattern back on track.
This is not necessarily a very easy process but can have amazing impacts in handling the condition altogether.
There are a number of ways in which you can manage and regulate your sleeping patterns but the most important thing that one definitely needs to keep into account is to ensure that you have at least 7-9 hours of sleep every single day.
Do not delay going to bed as it will only make the situation worse for your sleeping pattern. Instead of doing that, try and maintain a healthy sleeping timing which will help you sleep without any kind of issues at all.
2. Manage the exposure of light
Yet another factor to keep into consideration is to look out for the amount of light you are exposing yourself to. For the best of results, it is always best suggested to ensure that you do indulge in getting the best of bright lights during your night shift to trick your body and brain into thinking that it is day time.
Doing this helps in keeping you awake during the night and if you do the complete opposite of it during the day time, once you are done with your shift, it does become easier for your body to understand the needs of the sleep and it helps you in getting the optimal amount of sleep without any kind of hindrance.
3. Look out on the diet
Yet another one of the factors that does play a very crucial role in minimizing the impacts of the effects of night shift on mental health and physical health is by maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet.
Studies have found that night shift workers are at a heightened risk of developing issues with their metabolism, especially by developing the risks associated with the metabolic syndrome. Not just that, night shift workers also have around 29% heightened risk of becoming obese or overweight which is yet another one of the issues.
Consuming a healthy and nutritious meal helps in keeping your body in check and your metabolism perfect. This is what has been found to have amazing impact in handling the overall symptoms without any kind of problems altogether.
Make sure that you stick to a regular eating pattern and even follow an eating habit that will impact and boost your metabolism and counteract with the issues that you might be facing altogether.
4. Don’t just gorge down caffeine
It would be a lie if someone said they don’t depend on their caffeine to get them by their night shift. That is definitely not how everything works in here.
While keeping themselves awake and alert, what many people often tend to forget is the fact that caffeine is a stimulant and does have negative impacts on the body. Instead of blindly relying it to get you through the night, it is always best suggested to ensure that you are very careful with how much caffeine you are consuming.
Being dependent on caffeine tends to make your body crave more or it and there are chances that you might end up experiencing the negative implications of the same. Instead of doing that, try and cut down the caffeine and opt for other healthier options to keep yourself awake and alert through the night.
5. Take a nap
Napping is actually a very good way to rejuvenate your body and get rid of the health effects of night shift. It is important to ensure that even if you can’t take hour long naps, take some power naps in between the shifts.
This will help in keeping your health in check and prevent any kind of issues whatsoever. Indulging in a 20-40 minute long nap has been found to be very effective in getting rid of the signs and symptoms associated with fatigue and tiredness that many tend to encounter through their shift at night.
Don’t prolong your naps for too long because the same has been found to have negative impacts rather than helping in getting the problem sorted out for good.
The effects of night shift on health are tremendous and quite extensive. If you have been struggling with your duty and also your health, chances are that the condition of night shift is actually making the situation worse even further. The best way to combat that is to be alert about the condition and take necessary steps.