Night Shift Taking a Toll on American Workers
(DailyVantage.com) – Between 5% and 10% of American employees work the night shift. While the practice can come with some perks, such as differential pay and less of the public to deal with, it also has a downside that many people don’t discuss. Working overnight shifts tends to throw the body out of its natural circadian rhythm, and many people suffer because of it.
The circadian rhythm is a 24-hour cycle that constitutes the internal body clock. It responds to light changes in the environment and, thus, the cycle of sleepiness and alertness. It’s also responsible for physiological processes such as digestion, hormones, sleep patterns, and blood pressure.
Individuals who work the night shift commonly suffer from “circadian misalignment,” according to chronobiologist Dr. Laura Kervezee of the Leiden University Medical Center. The phenomenon occurs when someone’s processes fall out of line with the natural rhythm, causing detrimental health effects.
‘It’s killing us all slowly’: how the night shift is taking a toll on US workers https://t.co/z8sTaLmMiB
— Guardian news (@guardiannews) November 18, 2022
One of the complaints among night shift workers is a lack of regular sleeping patterns, according to The Guardian. Because it’s light out when they finish working, these people rely on aids such as blackout curtains, but because the body is out of rhythm, they don’t sleep as much as someone who works days. Studies have proven that misaligned circadian systems can lead to health issues like increased risk for cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression, and more.
Night workers, however, are essential to many industries, particularly hospitality and healthcare. Without any solution, the practice could continue to take a toll on this part of the workforce.
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