Working The Night Shifts Is Causing You To Lose More Than Just Your Sleep

Previous researches have established the fact that unhealthy sleeping habits are likely to cause damage to the internal bio-clocks and lead to a chaotic state, and in turn cause all the systems to ‘un-sync”‘ with each other.

Now a recent study has revealed that people who work in night shifts are at a risk of increased over all mortality.

According to the study conducted by the team of Dr. Eva S. Schernhammer, associate professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School, there is 11% increase in all-cause mortality in women who work at night shifts.

The study gained its data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which started in the year 1976. The potential candidates for the study had to be aged between 30 – 55 years and had to be healthy with no history of a preexisting cardiovascular disease or cancer with the exception of non-melanoma skin cancer. There were 121,700 women who were eligible for the study.

These women were required to complete questionnaires regarding their years serving night shift duties. A typical night shift duty is when a person is requires to work three or more night in one month alongside their regular day duties. The years had been grouped together in the following order: 1-2 years, 3-5 years, 6-9 years, 10-14 years, 15-19 years and 20-29 years and 30 years.

The results showed an overall increase in mortality rates of these women by 11% with an increase in the incidence of ling cancer by 25%. However, increase in incidences of other cancers was not observed.

Dr. Eva S. Schernhammer, who is also an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said, “These results add to prior evidence of a potentially detrimental relation of rotating night shift work and health and longevity. […] To derive practical implications for shift workers and their health, the role of duration and intensity of rotating night shift work and the interplay of shift schedules with individual traits (e.g., chronotype) warrant further exploration.”

This study largely targets people who work in night shifts and has been done on a very large-scale. The fact that this study primarily targets people from one profession has made it strong in terms of its validity.

“A single occupation provides more internal validity than a range of different occupational groups, where the association between shift work and disease outcomes could be confounded by occupational differences,” said Schernhammer.


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