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7 Effects Of Working Night Shift


Working on a night shift schedule can affect us in various ways. One of the challenges associated with this kind of work schedule is getting medical or dental appointments. There could be a chance that workers fall into a deep sleep. In effect, they won’t be able to proceed with their dental schedule. If you are guilty of this, you may try to find tips at www.macquariedental.com.au to help you find time for your dental visits. We may ignore effects just like this, but night shift work indeed has it. Unfortunately, we probably do not pay attention and importance to them as much as we should. 

Working Night Shift

A doctor trying to stay awake during his shift at around 3A.M.

Night shift work has its challenging phases. The first time a person will be in this work schedule might take a while to adjust. Furthermore, the usual body clock is not something that can blend like how we wanted it. For this reason, it would be best to think of ways on how our bodies can cope with the new shift.

Before we proceed with learning these coping methods, let us first have the effects of working on a night shift. These effects might be significant to our health conditions. For this reason, it best to be familiar with them and act accordingly to address them.

No matter how seldom or frequently you work on a night shift schedule, the impact is still there. We may not feel them now, but sooner or later, it could just come out unannounced. By that time, it could not be that easy to address them already.

Effects of Working Night Shift

Having a work schedule at night incorporates the following side effects on our health. If you are a night shift worker, look if any of these effects already exist on you right now.

1. Sleep schedule

This impact would probably become your number one concern with working at this shifting work schedule. The night shift work can directly affect your sleep schedule. As a result, it is either you fall into a deep sleep or won’t get any sleep at all.

Sleep quality is a lot different between a day sleep and a night sleep. One of the things you can observe from a night’s sleep is Rapid Eye Movements (REM). Night shift workers have lesser REM in comparison to those who work during the day only. In effect, lack of quality sleep can lead to the following conditions.

  • Constant tiredness / exhaustion
  • Sleep disorders
  • Mental irritation
  • Depression

Sleep schedule is one of the aspects that night shift work takes effect on. For this reason, many people choose not to have night shift work.

2. Digestive health

In addition to a sleep schedule, our body also has a norm followed when eating meals. When you start working on night shifts, your irregular eating may begin as well.

As a result, you may end up eating in an amount more than the usual or, most probably, lesser healthy. In effect, you are most likely to develop constipation, weight gain, indigestion, and other diseases.

Generally speaking, our digestion also follows the circadian rhythm. In the latter part of this article, we will discuss what circadian rhythm is all about. Back to our topic, irregular eating habits are one of the impacts of night shift work.

3. Social isolation

As a result of being in a different work schedule, you may not spend more time with family and friends. You might even miss out on special gatherings because you need to sleep for your work at night.

Eventually, you might even develop mental health issues, such as depression and irritability. Being left out would start to make you frustrated at things.

4. Impact on Blood Pressure

Some researchers find a connection between hypertension or high blood pressure and night shift work. Even just the lack of sleep can increase our blood pressure.

5. Menstrual Cycle or Pregnancy

It is also possible that working on a night shift can cause menstrual disorders, pre-term birth, and, unfortunately, even miscarriage. For this reason, the management usually takes pregnant workers to a regular working schedule.

6. Cardiovascular Disease

Night shift work also has the potential to increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and heart problems.

7. Injuries and Accidents

Your transportation toward work at night and traveling back home in the morning, feeling sleepy, might lead to injuries and accidents.

How to Manage These Impacts?

The methods are simple, as follows.

Too much caffeine is not good for your health no matter how much you want to stay awake.
  • Manage your sleep schedule. Create favorable sleep patterns. Beware of the circadian rhythms wherein natural light and dark cycles are significant influences.
  • Control your light exposure to bring you into a deep sleep mode.
  • Watch your diet. Observe healthy eating habits.
  • Take some naps if you can before work and during your break.
  • Another way is caffeine. However, you have to take it in moderation.
  • You can even do a jog in place during your work to keep you boosted.

Before we end this article, let me explain circadian rhythm briefly. The circadian rhythm helps the body optimized different processes at various points within a 24-hour period.

Additionally, all the circadian rhythms in the body connect to a master clock or the circadian pacemaker. You can find this inside the brain. It sends signals to start regulating the body’s activities.


10 ways working night shifts can impact your health, Lauren Schumacker, January 04, 2019, https://www.insider.com/health-risks-of-working-at-night-shift-2019-1

Life hacks: How to cope with night shifts, Hannah Nichols, October 30, 2017, Fact checked by Jasmin Collier, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319918

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