Many people work the night shift because of the extra monetary incentives offered for those employees willing to do so. Other people simply prefer the shift because there are less administrative personnel and they feel more at ease working with fewer people. Some people just simply prefer it for no special reason whatsoever. For whichever reason you work the night shift you need to be aware of the health risks and ways to prevent health complications related to this shift.
Essential Health Tips for Night Shift Workers Related to Insomnia
Night shifters are at extremely high risk for developing insomnia. Working the night shift interferes with your circadian rhythms which are the body’s internal clock. Your internal clock controls things like your metabolism and your body temperature. Insomnia can lead to other serious health conditions.
Essential health tips for night shift workers to avoid insomnia:
- When you get home from work, relax for at least an hour before attempting to lie down and go to sleep.
- Keep your bedrooms temperature at a cool, but not too cold temperature.
- Avoid excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption prior to sleep.
- Avoid going to sleep hungry. Your body will wake you up to feed it.
- Make environmental changes to promote a good days rest for your body.
Essential Health Tips for Night Shift Workers Related to Environment
When you work the night shift you and your family need to make adjustments to your home life to insure that you get proper rest. Because you sleep during the day time, this does not mean that it is simply a nap. This is your night time, the time your body rests and recuperates from a long night at work.
- Eat your daily meals at the same time each day; this helps to maintain the function of your internal clock.
- Make changes to your bedrooms environment to help induce and maintain rest. Turn clocks around so you cannot see the time.
- Use room darkening shades to block out the sunlight.
- Block out daytime noises. You may need to purchase some soft ear plugs to use while sleeping.
- Discuss medication times with your physician. “Morning medicine” is meant to be taken when you awake; ask your doctor if this means whatever time you wake up even if it is the middle of the night when your “daytime” begins.
Essential Health Tips for Night Shift Workers Regarding Potential Health Risks
Working the night shift can be hazardous to your health. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined that women who work the night shift after 30 years have a 36% greater risk of developing breast cancer than those who do not. The list of causes and risks of cancer including lead compounds, anabolic steroids, diesel exhaust, sun beds and such now includes working the night shift. It is ranked one level below the category one risks that include asbestos.
Changes in sleep patterns have been said to suppress our production of melatonin which is helps to regulate our internal clock and is an antioxidant beneficial in fighting cancer. Insomnia can lead to other health risks and lack of concentration and decreased cognition.
Be aware of the potential increased risks to your health because you work the night shift and make lifestyle changes to promote better sleep. Speak to your doctor to see if they suggest you supplement antioxidants and melatonin.
April 10th, 2010
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