The Impact of Shift Work on Health

As medical staffs, you might get used to with shift work. This kind of work schedule is made to fulfil patient healthcare needs. So, if staying up late is part of your nursing jobs, you many need to beware on your health as it may increase disease prevalence.

Why might shift work increase disease prevalence?

Longer working hours and staying awake for many more hours each day is the main cause for the increment of any disease prevalence. This is because our bodies are no longer truly synchronized with their environment anymore.

Moreover, television, computers and longer hours have the same effect to what is referred to as “social jet lag”, as well as many new diseases and disorders that commonly found in Western societies.

In addition, shift work was noted by the authors to be linked with behavioral and lifestyle factors that are also known risk factors for certain chronic diseases. Various studies have shown that shift workers are more likely to have a high body mass index (BMI), to smoke and experience stress.

What can we do to protect shift workers’ health?

If you are one the people who like working shift can follow a number of these suggestions:

  • On the last few days of an evening shift, delay going to bed and waking up by 1 or 2 hours. This should make it easier to adapt to a new shift schedule.
  • Provide extra time to adjust to a new work schedule, but still take care on your time for sleeping.
  • To prevent daylight and other light cues after finishing a night shift, you can wear dark glasses or special goggles.
  • Be discipline on your sleep schedule every day of the week, even on days off, to help adjust the body clock with the work schedule.

From the suggestions above, having good-quality sleep is important to minimize any disruption to the body’s circadian rhythms. This is also the best way to keep your body stays healthy.

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