For years, different studies have been conducted looking at the health consequences of certain types of work schedules.
One recent analysis of over 30 studies revealed that one group of workers in particular was at highest risk heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and death.
The results will surprise you because this has nothing to do with pressure or emotional stress.
The highest long-term danger in the workplace doesn’t hinge on the risk factors associated with the duties. Rather, it rests squarely on the hours a person keeps.
Studies over the past 3 decades have shown shift workers, or those whose job occurs during the night time hours, to be at much higher risk of developing high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
But an analysis of more than 30 of these studies recently attempted to drill down to the heart of the risk to see if it was primarily a lifestyle problem or if other issues like stress were working against shift workers.
The assumption that 3rd shift or graveyard employees are less healthy due to lifestyle factors such as smoking and diet was taken into account as well. Additionally, the researchers also looked at type of work performed.
Controlling for lifestyle behaviors that increase risk of bad health outcomes (like smoking and diet) and also type of work performed, researchers still saw a higher likelihood of disease in shift workers.
The one dynamic they kept coming back to was the sleep disruption and the body’s pre-programmed need to be awake in the daytime and asleep in the nighttime.
Methods for tricking the body into switching rhythms were shown to be very effective, such as using very dark glasses when leaving work in the morning and going for sleep in a restful, very dark room for at least 8 hours.
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