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Expert reveals the potential health risks night-shift workers face 

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An expert has revealed some of the potential health risks that night shift workers may face, and what can be done to tackle them. 

Night shifts are required in a number of industries, such as hospitality, warehouse operations, and the emergency services, but the effects on your circadian rhythm can have mental and physical health implications.  

To raise awareness of the dangers night shift workers may face, a spokesperson from Patient Claim Line has released comments discussing the potential risks, the impact on health, and what can be done to help night shift workers. 

“An increased risk of mental health issues can be a big concern for night shift workers who are adapting to irregular sleeping patterns. This can lead to sleep disturbances, a poor quality of sleep, or insomnia. If this poor sleep quality exceeds to chronic sleep deprivation, mood changes, irritability, and difficulty concentrating may occur, which can create a lower sense of mood that can cause friction with loved ones.” 

“Depression is known to be a possible symptom of night shift working. Research from Psychom suggests that night shift workers may be as much as 33% more likely to have depression than those working a regular daytime schedule. Potentially, this is due to a disruption of sleep or a lack of socialising due to restricting schedules.”

“It has been suggested that changes to your circadian rhythm, caused by an irregular sleeping pattern, can potentially increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The circadian rhythm is the 24-hour internal biological clock that regulates the sleep-wake cycle, hormone production, and metabolism via responses to light changes from the environment. But when the circadian rhythms are disrupted, there may be an impaired glucose intolerance. According to Diabates.co.uk, this can create long-term effects on the body such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure”.

“The nature of working night shifts means that you will be awake during the night and asleep during the day, so you will likely end up being deficient in vitamin D. The NHS website states that vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in your body which is needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Our bodies also produce this vitamin when exposed to sunlight. But a lack of this can cause brittle, thin, or misshapen bones, according to SelectHealth, or even bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia, as stated by the NHS.”

What can be done to help the challenges that night shift workers face?

“Despite some industries seeing nightshifts as a requirement, workers could benefit from further choice in their work schedule. Companies that offer night shift workers the opportunity to work a set of nighttime shifts, sandwiched with a break, followed by a set of daytime shifts, may help workers feel like they are still doing a typical working schedule and receiving the benefits of sunlight.” 

“Management and supervision of nightshift workers should be a priority in noticing any physical injuries or a decline in mental health, due to the nature of the job. As mentioned, nightshift work can be demanding and the worker’s health may be overlooked. It is essential for management to be aware of any behavioral or physical changes and act accordingly to safeguard their workers.” 

Patient Claim Line has released these comments to raise awareness of the mental and physical implications of working shifts during the night. 

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