Sleep and Shiftwork

Our biological clock assumes we work during day and sleep at night. Sleep and shiftwork are not the best friends... What are the negative effects caused by irregular sleep? Is there a way to minimize it?

Clock doesn't care if we need to work at night or an afternoon shift. This may result in poor concentration and even work related accidents.

In a long term this may cause more serious health problems. For any organism upsetting its natural biorhythm it will have some unwanted consequences.

Each individual reacts to it in a different way. Some tolerate it more than the others. To those more sensitive; or; those suffering with some illnesses it is recommended to keep to daily shift only.

Few hints to help to overcome the undesirable effects of the shiftwork:

    Change of shifts:

This is a subject of many debates and speculation. The most commonly used is a weekly shift. By studying various research programs the most suitable, with least negative effects, appears to be morning-afternoon-night sequence.

    Regular Medical check-ups

Personnel with medical conditions such as diabetes, sleep disorders and other, should completely avoid shift work. It is important to monitor your health on a regular bases.

    Family life

Shift work can put a stress on any relationship. Couples work and sleep different times. It is important to find and spend quality time together.


With shift work it is ever more important to avoid alcohol. Emphasis should be placed on quality food. Avoiding heavy meals during night and no meal few hours before sleep.

    Exposure to bright light for several hours during night shift helps to reduce fatigue.

    Sleep in dark

during daytime has the same effect as the exposure to bright light during night. Both are the result of Japanese research. However, the long term health effects are not known. A brief nap during night shift also helps to increase alertness dramatically.

Sleep and shiftwork requires working out the best balance for each individual.

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