The devastating consequences of shift work on health

Many people do shift work, but are not aware of the consequences this type of work can have on their health. In fact, shift work performed over a period of years can contribute to a number of serious illnesses.

Certain professions are at risk

Does your job also require irregular duty hours that involve staying up late and getting up early? Researchers are not yet clear exactly why shift work endangers health, however, they ame that irregular working hours can affect the body's internal clock, or. the circadian rhythm, is changed. Especially occupational groups such as nursing staff in hospitals, factory workers, police officers, cab drivers and employees in the food industry, are affected by the effects.

Shift work is detrimental to health

Several studies have already proven that shift work can lead to a number of health problems. These include, for example, a higher probability of obesity and diabetes, memory problems and cardiovascular disease. One study suggests that shift work may increase the severity of strokes, especially in men.

But it can also affect male and female reproductive function. For example, research from Denmark has shown that young men who have sleep disorders have poorer sperm quality. Women who work shifts may in turn experience difficulty conceiving, as they often have disrupted menstrual cycles that make it difficult to conceive. In addition, there may be problems carrying the pregnancy to term. Last but not least, shift work can trigger cancer.

Poor lifestyle plays a role

One reason shift workers may be more likely to be affected by these conditions is because of the often poor lifestyle choices people in these jobs follow. Due to stress, many often turn to stimulants such as alcohol. Nicotine as well as too unhealthy food in between. These negative habits, in turn, can play a crucial role in the development of the aforementioned health problems.

Heart disease, diabetes and cancer

The potential dangers that shift workers expose themselves to day after day should not be underestimated. The risk of developing serious illnesses is higher than the rest of the population. According to studies, the risk of developing heart disease increases by 40 percent. Working shifts for 10, 15 or more years can increase your risk of developing lung cancer by 25 percent, while aging your brain by another 6.5 years. The probability of developing type 2 diabetes increases by 42 percent.

Effect of shift work on circadian rhythms

Why shift work has such a dramatic effect on the body? This question cannot yet be answered in its entirety, but it has to do with the body's circadian rhythm.

Your body works in a 24-hour rhythm. You have an "internal clock," whether you realize it or not. This clock controls many of your biological functions throughout the day. Your circadian rhythm signals your body when to wake up and when to sleep. It also stimulates the release of certain hormones at the right time of day. If your circadian rhythm is healthy, for example, this causes your body to release the hormone melatonin (which makes you sleepy) around the time you go to bed. In addition, the 24-hour rhythm is responsible for regulating numerous "maintenance tasks" in your body, such as regenerating damaged cells.

Far-reaching consequences for older people

It's difficult to function well, and stay healthy, if your circadian rhythm doesn't match your workday. This is a problem that plagues many shift workers. Staying awake all night, and sleeping during the day is simply not healthy, as it causes the organism to deteriorate. The older you get, the more harmful this pattern is. People tend to sleep less as they age, and when shift work is added to the mix, many older service members find it increasingly difficult to get quality sleep.

Counterstrategy: Ensure healthy melatonin levels

Of course, it's best to strive for a job that doesn't require shift work. However, if such a work rhythm cannot be avoided, it is important to keep melatonin levels in balance to still find restful sleep. Helpfully, z.B., Spending enough time in the sunlight. If this is not possible, light therapy could be considered. In addition, melatonin supplementation can be effective in ensuring that the hormone is released at the right time, normalizing the sleep-wake cycle.

Several studies have shown that melatonin accelerates the readjustment to the changed day-night conditions. The important thing here is a pulsatile supplement formulated to release melatonin in amounts that mimic healthy, natural melatonin levels, thus ensuring restful sleep throughout the night. For this reason, the product Melachron® was developed (see consumer info in box below) the ideal complement has been created.

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