Shift Work Linked to Health Problems

Shift Work Linked to Health Problems

Shift Work Linked to Health Problems

Excess weight, sleep issues more common among those with changing schedules, study finds

SOURCE: Sleep Health, news release, May 18, 2015

MONDAY, May 18, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Shift work may harm your health, a new study warns.

Researchers examined data on nearly 1,600 people in Wisconsin, comparing the health of shift workers with those who worked a 9-to-5 schedule.

The results showed that shift workers were more likely to be overweight than people who didn't do shift work -- 48 percent vs. 35 percent. Shift workers were also around 10 percent more likely to have sleep problems, get too little sleep, and be excessively sleepy.

"Shift workers are more commonly men, minorities, and individuals with lower educational attainment and typically work in hospital settings, production, or shipping industries," lead investigator Marjory Givens, an associate scientist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, said in a Sleep Health journal news release.

"Shift work employees are particularly vulnerable to experiencing sleep problems as their jobs require them to work night, flex, extended, or rotating shifts," Givens said.

Shift workers may also be more likely to develop metabolic disorders such as diabetes, according to the study.

Although the study found an association between shift work and health issues, it wasn't designed to prove whether working rotating shifts actually caused these problems.

The results were published May 18 in Sleep Health, the journal of the National Sleep Foundation.

"This study adds to a growing body of literature calling attention to the metabolic health burden commonly experienced by shift workers and suggests that obtaining sufficient sleep could lessen this burden. More research in this area could inform workplace wellness or healthcare provider interventions on the role of sleep in addressing shift worker health disparities," Givens concluded.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about shift work.
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