Working night shifts not only plays with your social life, it can also have an impact on your health. A new study has shown that people who work at least three nights per month are more likely to develop heart problems over the next 24 years than co-workers who stick to daytime shifts.
Unfortunately, it isn’t the first study to suggest working unsociable hours can have a detrimental impact on health.
Here are four other ways working night shifts may be affecting your body:
Despite working the same amount of hours, working the night shift may leave you feeling extra tired. Working the night or evening shift was strongly associated with getting fewer than six hours of sleep per day. Who got fewer than six hours of sleep each day had more than a doubled risk of bad quality sleep, compared with those who got six or more hours of sleep per day.
Numerous studies have suggested working night shifts can have a negative impact on mental health. The links between exposure to shift work during unsociable hours and experience of major depressive disorder during and after work.There was an “unexpectedly high” prevalence of major depressive disorder identified, occurring during or after night shift work, with a higher rate for women than for men. The study also provided suggestive evidence that increasing exposure to working at night was associated with an increased lifetime risk of major depressive disorder.
Working night shifts for more than 30 years could double women’s risk of developing breast cancer.We need to better understand why night work might increase breast cancer risk. Shift work may lead to unhealthy lifestyle habits that could independently increase the risk of breast cancer, so we’d encourage all women to take part in regular physical activity, like maintain a healthy weight.
Either sleeping too little or sleeping “against” the body’s biological clock increases a person’s risk for becoming obese or developing diabetes.In people with a pre-diabetic condition, shift workers who stay awake at night are much more likely to progress to full-on diabetes than day workers. Since night workers often have a hard time sleeping during the day, they can face both circadian disruptions working at night and insufficient sleep during the day.The evidence is clear that getting enough sleep is important for health, and that sleep should be at night for best effect.