What is life like when you work long night shifts?
Some people say, “As long as you work and rest regularly, night shifts have no effect on your body”. But in fact, most people who really work the night shift for a long time have their own “bad feelings”.
—My husband has been on night shift for two years, he doesn’t want to talk much after work and feels his personality has changed.
— Almost 20 years on the night shift, harvested a neurasthenia, and now three years after changing jobs can not recover! If the clock is turned back, I would rather get paid less than choose to stay up late to work!
— A female of mine, 22 years old, worked night shift for one year, the consequence is physiological disorder and yellow face, two years can’t make up for it.
A. Long-term night shift, may potentially harmful
Animals have a natural routine, so do humans, working hard during the day and resting at night, “sunrise and sunset” is a habit that humans have developed over the centuries. However, due to social progress and economic development, many people now have to work at night.
What these people may not know is that night shift may cause great harm to their bodies.
1、Risk of causing cancer
In 2019, the World Health Organization categorized “night work” in the list of “possibly carcinogenic to humans”, aiming to remind people of the potential hazards of night work.
In March 2021, researchers from Washington State University published a study that night shift work can disrupt the natural rhythm of cancer-related genes, delaying the expression of cancer-related genes, causing DNA damage and affecting the repair rate of damaged DNA, leading to an increased risk of cancer.
This study not only explains the causes of cancer caused by night work, but also has implications for cancer treatment, which can be used to optimize treatment strategies.
- More susceptible to coronary heart disease
On August 10, 2021, Chinese expert Yingli Lu’s team, in conjunction with researchers from the United States and Sweden, published a study in the European Heart Journal, saying that long-term night shifts significantly increase the risk of atrial fibrillation and coronary heart disease.
The study included 284,000 adults without atrial fibrillation, with an average follow-up of 10.4 years, of whom 5,777 were diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. The study found that people who worked regular or consistent night shifts had a 12% increased risk of atrial fibrillation compared to those who worked only day shifts. In addition, people who work long night shifts who do not get enough exercise have a higher risk of atrial fibrillation.
- Risk of depression
A study published in The IJOEM says that people who work the night shift have a higher risk of major depressive disorder than those who work the day shift, and are associated with almost all mood disorders. However, some experts believe that the risk of depression in long-term night shifts may be related to the type of work.
- Risk of diabetes
A study in PLoS Medicine said that long-term night shifts can affect insulin secretion, causing metabolic changes and increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes. a BMJ study involving 220,000 people showed that the risk of diabetes in men is 25.7% higher than in women in the long-term night shift.
5, the risk of obesity
A study in Science Translational Medicine says that sleep deprivation or sleep patterns that violate the biological clock increase the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, associated with a decline in resting metabolic rate. The percentage of sleep deprivation and biological clock disruptions is even greater in the night shift population.
Second, after the night shift, why can’t I sleep?
Do you also feel very strange: obviously tired and sleepy after night shift, but once you lie down on the bed, you find yourself unable to sleep. Why is that?
First of all, the night shift may be contrary to their own rhythm of life. Human beings have long been accustomed to the lifestyle of “working at sunrise and resting at sunset”, so forcing the regular lifestyle to be reversed will make it difficult for the body to adapt and lead to insomnia.
Secondly, the internal biorhythms do not conform to the external rhythms of nature. Night shift workers are less likely to go out during the day, the loss of light stimulation, the body’s melatonin secretion will be reduced, resulting in poor sleep during the day, the night shift is not awake situation.
Third, have to work at night, how to reduce the damage?
For the sake of the future, for the family, many people have to work the night shift. In this case, how to minimize the damage to the body of the night shift?
1、Improve the quality of sleep
After work, in order to avoid the light to make the circadian rhythm forward, you can wear a pair of sunglasses to block the light. If you really can’t sleep, you can use melatonin under the guidance of your doctor to regulate your core body temperature and circadian rhythm. Also, create a comfortable sleeping environment for yourself, such as using blackout curtains to block out the light.
- Go out for a walk during the day
After the night shift, the daytime hours are still long, you do not have to stay in bed. Studies have found that the title to go out for a walk, the eyes can clear amyloid through a special class of lymphatic system, in the light, will accelerate the efficiency of the removal.
3, dinner is divided into two meals
Eating too much at night will increase the burden on the stomach and intestines, affecting the quality of sleep, so it is best to finish dinner 3 hours before bedtime. If you work at night, it is best to divide dinner into two meals, the normal dinner time to eat a meal, late at night when hungry and then eat a meal less, so as to reduce the residue of food in the stomach, but also to avoid prolonged fasting, stomach acid stimulation.
4, pay more attention to healthy habits
Night shift workers more to develop healthy habits, nutritious meals, moderate exercise, in the course of the night shift can be appropriate additional meals or supplemental milk, timely rest after the night shift, to avoid excessive fatigue.
In this way, staying up late for work is somehow consuming one’s body, and in the case that it is difficult to change, I hope that night shift workers will treat themselves well and develop healthier habits to reduce harm. I hope everyone is healthy and well!