Most office workers are required to work from morning to evening. On the other hand, some professions may require workers to have working hours reversed from night to morning. For example, doctors and nurses guard the emergency room, pilots and flight attendants, or 24-hour shop and restaurant clerks. Agree to night shift work means you have to be willing and able to stay up all night. In addition, shift work schedules are also often associated with the risk of serious health problems.
Why does night shift work increase the risk of illness?
Night shift work will certainly change your routine. Which should be the time for you to rest and sleep, instead you use it to work and even eat. Conversely, at the time when the body is supposed to do important activities such as moving and digesting, you are instead sleeping.
Over time a routine like this will make the body's biological clock fall apart. A biological clock or circadian clock works following all changes in physical, mental, and human behavior in a 24-hour cycle. A person's biological clock determines the sleep cycle, hormone production, body temperature, and various other vital body functions.
The circadian clock also plays a role in regulating when the body must produce new cells and repair damaged DNA. All the effects of changing the biological clock will certainly change the body's metabolism. You become more difficult to sleep (insomnia), frequent fatigue that seems to not recover, to other health problems such as digestive disorders ranging from abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and heartburn, to the risk of injury and accident. In the end, night shift work can reduce quality of life and work productivity.
Long-term health impacts from night shifts
Reporting from WebMD, scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) revealed that disruption of circadian rhythms can interfere with two tumor suppressor genes that trigger the development of chronic diseases, such as cancer.
Researchers have found an interesting relationship between shift workers and an increased risk of serious health conditions.
A review study of various studies found that the risk of cardiovascular disease in night shift workers seemed to increase by 40 percent.
The risk will increase if you fly longer. The risk of stroke increases after someone does shift work for 15 years. One study found that stroke risk increased by five percent every additional year from working shifts.
Diabetes and metabolic disorders
Shift work is a risk factor for diabetes. One study found that shift workers had a 50 percent higher risk of developing diabetes than daily workers. This risk occurs in those who work shifts for 16 hours.
Shift work is also associated with metabolic disorders, a combination of health problems such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, obesity, and high cholesterol levels. This is a risk factor for diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. The risk of metabolic disorders is more than three times in people who work the night shift.
There are several possible reasons for the relationship between obesity and shift work. A bad diet and lack of exercise may be the cause. Hormone balance also seems to take a role.
The leptin hormone that regulates appetite, which makes you feel full. Because shift work seems to reduce leptin levels, so shift workers often feel hungry. As a result you eat more than daily workers.
Depression and mood disorders
Some studies have found that shift workers are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and other mood disorders.
Working shifts can also affect brain chemistry directly. One study reported that when compared to daily workers, night workers have lower serotonin levels, brain chemicals that play a role in regulating moods.
Fertility and pregnancy disorders
Working shifts can affect a woman's reproductive system. One study looked at flight attendants, who usually work in shifts. The results showed that flight attendants who worked shifts were more likely to experience miscarriages compared to flight attendants who worked in normal times.
Working shifts seem to be associated with an increased risk of complications during labor, premature babies and low birth weight babies, fertility problems, endometriosis, irregular menstruation, and painful menstruation.
There is some evidence, both from human and animal studies, that shift work raises an increased risk of cancer.
Two data analyzes from various studies found that night work increased the risk of breast cancer by 50 percent. Work shifts in airplanes, such as pilots and flight attendants, increase the risk by up to 70 percent.
In addition, shift work can also increase the risk of colorectal and prostate cancer. So far, research shows that cancer risk rises only after years of working in shifts, maybe for 20 years.
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