Night-shift workers are rewarded for their unusual working schedule, but if a recent report is to be believed, those extra resources will go to health care. More than 1,600 people in South Korea, who worked graveyard times, provided information about their sleep habits and underwent tests to assess their wellbeing.
The study stated that even if night owls get enough sleep, they are still at risk and have a high chance of developing diabetes or reduced muscle mass. Dr. Nan Hee Kim of Korea University College said this is a new release, alongside the poor quality of sleep night owls experience. They also tend to participate in non-healthy activities such as smoking, late-night eating and a sedentary lifestyle.
Even if the night owls tend to be younger, they are likely to have a high level of body fat and fats in the blood for their age. Sarcopenia is also common for graveyard workers, a condition where the body continually loses mass and is widely reserved for aging people.
According to Dr. Kim, it doesn’t matter if a night-shift worker maintains a healthy lifestyle; the mere fact that his or her sleeping patterns and working schedule is inverted will affect their health in some way. Among men is where sarcopenia is possible, while women can develop belly fat and metabolic syndrome. The latter is a root of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
In France, 3,000 people were subject to a test about the mental effects of graveyard shift. Half of the sample worked nights, and the result of their working schedule had a negative effect on their memory, processing speed and overall brain power. The good news, sadly, only comes when the subjects stopped working during wee hours of evening and morning. Even those five-year veterans have a chance of regaining their former brain capacity.
Dr. Philip Tucker, a senior lecturer in the psychology department at Swansea University, pointed the “destruction of circadian rhythms” as the root cause of decreased mental capability in night-shift workers. The lack of exposure to the sun is also touted as a major source of illness. Vitamin D, which is abundant in sunlight, isn’t present in night owls.
The amount of graveyard workers is predicted to rise, with offshore companies providing steady jobs for people. There is no dawn for effectively countering the effects of working late at night. Doctors all over the world are still prescribing the same thing: get a 9 to 5 job and avoid the decline that comes with working nights.