When it comes to working, few of us realise the impact shift work can have on our body. Though it can seem exciting at first, shift work can cause serious health problems including sleep deprivation that may put you at higher risk of viral infections and accidents which could be life threatening. Whilst there are a few tips you can take on board to aid your body’s shift to night work, ensuring you are comfortable is the first step to a quality night’s sleep for both you and your family. The best toddler pillows can provide the support and comfort needed to set your family up for a snug night. Find out more about the impact of shift work on sleep patterns below!
Shift work can greatly impact our sleep-wake cycle and, even when you aren’t on shift, you may struggle to keep up a regular sleep routine. For example, working night shifts will significantly shift your sleep-wake cycle, causing you to feel tired during the day compared to at night. With that in mind, you may struggle to get to sleep because your body is used to being awake at that time. You may also experience periods where you wake up because you have adjusted to night work, making it difficult to get back to sleep or get up.
Lack Of Sleep
For some of us, shift work has become a part of our everyday lives but for others we’re depended on for shift work at different times of the year, forcing our bodies into unknown territory for a period of time before switching back to a normal sleep pattern. As a result, you may experience a lack of sleep due to being overtired. This is because your body is programmed to get a certain amount of sleep and being overtired affects your body’s ability to function normally, reducing your ability to concentrate.
Even though shift work doesn’t necessarily require you to deprive yourself of sleep, it can leave your mind feeling exhausted, which can have a wider impact on your overall biological functions. As a result, you may begin to experience different sleep disorders such as insomnia whereby you may find it difficult to fall asleep on queue or rest for long periods of time. You may notice changes to your wellbeing too, whereby you tire more quickly, injure easily or suffer from a weakened immune system that leaves you valuable to various illnesses.
Sometimes, immune changes can lead to further health problems, increasing our risk of viral infections and other health-related issues such as high blood pressure, ulcers, heart attacks and even obesity. It can also lead to a higher risk of daytime incidents where your body is struggling to function normally due to a lack of normal routine sleep the night prior, particularly if you work for extended night time periods. To help, take regular breaks during your shift and keep the light as bright as possible to inform your sleep-wake cycle; this is when you are supposed to be awake. Exercising may also increase your alertness both prior to and after your shift, possibly encouraging your body to enter a state of sleep when the time comes.