Security guards, firefighters, policemen, nurses, cleaning crews, and more, all experience working night shifts. It’s estimated that 6 million people work the night shift in the US. In our current bustling economy, many industries need help during off hours. This means more shifts need to be filled at all hours of the week.
But what is the impact of the night shift on your body and your daily life? Let's look at the history of the night shift and its impact on your health. We're also going to cover 7 tips to keep individuals on the night shift healthy.
If you or someone you know works a night shift - read on to learn how to help!
The idea of working nights is not an new one. We’ve had a need for work at night long ago in history. Watchmen of ancient kingdoms would guard the grounds at night. Their job was protecting their master from any threat.
Is wasn’t until the late 1800’s that the concept of the night shift really changed. The invention of the lightbulb allowed workers to work longer by illuminating the dark. Manufactures in metal and textile mills jumped at the chance for increased production and higher profits. They introduced the concept of shift work. This meant they could split crews into groups and rotate when they worked. This allowed more goods without the added pay of extra crew.
The concept of shift work continued to grow into every industry. Today it is still relevant. Many companies and workers enjoy the benefit of shift work. They get time off during the day, atypical weekends, or flexibility for other responsibilities.
Some of the most common shift work is found in the transportation sector. Construction, railroads, freights, all need night shifts. They need to be able to work without distractions from daily traffic or pedestrians.
More increasingly the service industry is becoming a big night shift provider. More retail centers and convenience stores are operating on a 24 hour system. This means they need workers for shifts around the clock.
Shift work is also common in public safety and health care. EMS, Police, Security, Fire Fighting, and Hospitals are just some examples of industries that have the need for staff 24/7 to keep the public safe.
Working the night shift can be a big change for you, your family, and your health. It’s important to take care of yourself during this unusual schedule. Taking care of yourself helps make sure you don’t suffer from a sleep disorder. Sleep disorders are no joke and can cause workers to have absences and accidents.
What is a sleep disorder? Its definition is a ‘medical disorder of your sleep patterns’. Basically meaning you aren’t getting enough sleep, aren’t staying asleep, or having excessive sleep. Having disruptive sleep patterns can result in serious mental and physical issues. The body needs sleep to restore and rejuvenate. Certain body processes like growing muscle, repairing tissue, and synthesizing hormones all happen while we sleep.
Sleep disorders are linked to many serious mental and physical issues. They’re associated with hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, and heart attacks. It also impacts your memory and learning. It weakens your immune system, making you more vulnerable to germs and diseases.
For your long term health, it’s important to recognize the risk of sleep disorders due to working the night shift. Once you have the information you can start to adapt healthy patterns to reduce the risk.
Here are some tips to help you adjust to the night shift schedule:
Hopefully these tips make you feel more confident about working the night shift. Your health doesn’t have to suffer from working the night shift. Pay attention to your body's current needs. Some small changes and you can make sure the transition to night shift is smooth!
While it will be a big change to your lifestyle, it’s not impossible. Jobs that help you provide for your family or further your career are important. We want to help you achieve your goals in a healthy, safe way.