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Shift Work Health Effects and Solutions for Employees


In the modern day, the work scenario has become so competitive that people have no choice but to adjust to odd routines of work schedule. Shift work is something many youngsters adjust to, so that they can stay in the right job.

This however has several adverse effects on health and wellness. If you are taking up a shift job, you need to be aware of the different adverse effects on health in advance. This way, you can prepare yourself better and thus stay healthier.

shift work health effectsShift Work Health Effects:

Usually shift type jobs are common in the IT sector or in engineering jobs where there needs to be someone incharge all the time. We have listed out a few of the most obvious problems faced by individuals working in shifts. Read to know of these problems.

The Obvious Problems:

If you are working in a shift job, you cannot expect to have a normal routine like other employees. There are usually three shifts in a day of which the worst is surely the night shift. This is because you need to really put a lot of effort to adjust to a night shift.

  • Lack of Sleep: The first and most probable problem that you need to deal with is lack of sleep or sleep related problems. Human beings are created to work and stay active in the day and sleep in the night time. Working the night shift could really mean going against nature. This means you will have to put in a lot of effort to tune your body clock according to the new schedule. If you are unable to tune your system to the new schedule, it may be the key to a number of major health problems. Hence finding a solution to this problem is surely a priority.
  • Lack of Appetite: Another thing that will be greatly affected by your new schedule is your eating habits. Your digestion system may not work as effectively if you reverse your eating schedule or start eating at odd hours.
    If you have the habit of eating at a particular hour, you may not be able to eat at a later hour as you may lose your appetite. This may lead to other health problems. Not eating properly may cause poor health and lack of nutrition.

Health Problems that Result from the Shift Work:

The most obvious problems that succeed an irregular lifestyle is really just the beginning of the problem in itself. Body just shows signs of improper lifestyle and unhealthy habits. However, if these symptoms continue for long and you do not take any step to correct it, it may evolve into some serious problem. Here we have listed out a few of the common outcomes of lack of sleep and improper and stressful lifestyles.

  • Epilepsy: Epilepsy is a nervous health problem that may be caused due to hereditary reasons as well as due to improper lifestyle. A recent study revealed that employees working odd hours in call centres had an increased chance of developing epileptic seizures.Epilepsy is actually nothing but uncontrolled electrical discharge from the brain. This may result from improper sleep habits and increased levels of stress. Every individual has a seizure threshold and this reduces when the lifestyle changes. If the seizure threshold reduces due to shift timings, it may increase your chances of getting a seizure attack.
  • Depression: Every person reacts to lifestyle changes differently. Some people have emotional effects when the lifestyle changes. People working in odd night shifts usually have very little or no social life. They get no time to chat with friends or loved ones. When they reach home, everyone around is already asleep.They may miss out on get togethers and social occasions. This can eventually turn quite depressing and lead to depression. People who go into depression lose all their hope. They may sometimes need pills and therapies to get them back to normal.
  • Stress and Anxiety: Even in night shifts, the stress level related to work is really no less. The work you have to tackle requires a lot of brainstorming and any error from your side is totally unacceptable. Working in night shifts can also cause you to lose the agility and your overall thought process may slow down at least for a short duration till your body gets used to the new routine. This can be a challenging phase where you try hard to maintain the previous efficiency. It can cause stress and anxiety disorders.
  • Acidity: Our digestive health is greatly dependent on our sleep schedule. If you alter your sleep schedule, you may suffer acidity and similar other health problems related to the stomach. Change in eating schedule prevents the body from digesting the food you eat. This can be a major cause of tension when you work in night shifts.

Shift Work Health Effects and Solutions:

The above problems clearly reveal that it is no easy job to work in night shifts and perform well. A person who is not prepared for the challenges that may arise may not live upto the expectations of the firm or organisation. On the contrary, if a person is well aware of what awaits him, he can deal with these problems and still provide total work efficiency. Here are some simple tips and suggestions that will help you alter your life to work in shifts without having to face the problems mentioned.

Schedule Your Body Clock As Per Your Shift Timings:

Many people try to schedule their body to the new routine only after they join their jobs. This means that their efficiency is going to be low in the initial days of their job. On the contrary, if you start preparing around a week or two before you start working, you will be able to alter your routine and achieve maximum efficiency.

Alter Sleep Timings:

Start by altering your sleep schedules. Delay your sleep by two hours each day till you finally alter your sleep timing completely as per the shift routine. If you try to change your routine in a day, it can have serious health impacts. You may feel weak and lack energy. You may also be unable to concentrate. A gradual alteration does not hamper the health and is always safer.

Change Eating Schedule:

If you are working in a nightshift, you may probably have to eat your dinner early and head for the job. You may have to eat breakfast just after reaching home. You may also have to delay your lunch a bit so that you get continuous sleep of 6 to 8 hours before you wake up for lunch. You need to alter your eating habits accordingly.

When you are altering your eating schedule, make it a point to drink lots of water to prevent dehydration or any similar health problems. Once you have got accustomed to the new routine, you will not have trouble putting in your best at work.

Arrange Ambience to Get Good Sleep Even in Daytime:

One of the greatest challenges of night shift workers is sleeping in the daytime. The human body is used to night like ambience for sleeping. In the daytime, people find it difficult to get a good and sound sleep. So you need to arrange your ambience so that equals the nighttime surroundings.

You can choose a room that does not have direct sunlight during the day. Close all the doors and windows properly. You may use dark curtains to ensure that no light enters the room. If it is hot in the room, you may find it difficult to sleep. You may opt for a cooler or an air conditioner to keep your room cool so that you get a sound sleep.

Schedule Meetings with Friends and Loved Ones at least Once in a Week:

You should never neglect the psychological impact of altering your lifestyle to nightshift routine. Human beings are social animals and staying away from social life can actually hamper your health. You can make use of the weekly off to meetup with friends and loved ones. You can also organise occasional parties and picnics to stay in touch with friends and dear ones. These are simple ways to prevent getting completely cut off because of your professional commitments.

Join A Night shift Job Only If It Suits You:

You must not opt for a night shift kind of job if it does not suit your health condition. You must always keep your health at top priority. If you strain your body or mind beyond its limit, it may give in and you will never be able to lead a normal or healthy life. So opt for a night shift only if it suits you.

Health is really the greatest wealth and money comes only after it. Very few possess the flexibility to work for a night shift or changing shifts and only they should opt for such job profiles.