The effects of working night shift - Research Paper Example

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THE EFFECTS OF WORKING NIGHT SHIFT Working in night shifts is a professional demand in most of the establishments and has become an important factor for competence in the international market. Services such as banking, communications, transport, food and beverages etc…
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The effects of working night shift
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Download file to see previous pages Studies provide enough evidence that adequate sleep benefits alertness, memory, problem solving capacity, overall physical and mental health, and also reduces the risk of accidents. A good sleep during night will allow us to wake up feeling refreshed. On the contrary, if sleep is deprived every part of our body and life can suffer. The jobs, relationships, productivity, health and safety are all put at risk when sleep is deprived. Night shift working can be a serious problem to health and well being of an individual. Nursing profession is a good example for shift based working. In today’s busy schedule of nurses, they often have to compromise on sleep. According to a study, nurses get an average of 6.8 hours of sleep on a working day which is far less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep. This may result in reduced vigilance, reaction time, memory, psychomotor coordination, and decision making that is of utmost importance in this profession (Stutts et al.). There are also studies that show that speed of mental processing slows down during the night under conditions of sleep deficiency (Monk et. al. 399-401). Interns made significantly more serious medical errors when they worked repeatedly on shifts of 24 hours compared to when they worked in shorter shifts. (Landrigan et al. 1838-1848). The results for the study by Landrigan et al. may also be extended to nurses who work overtime and commit serious medication errors. In addition to sleep deprivation, there are other problems such as finances, family life, disease, studies, parents, children, etc. that can be a major cause for stress and anxiety. And when lack of sleep combines with stress and anxiety over a period of time, many serious health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes etc. may occur. The major health challenges in people who work regularly during the night are due to sleep deprivation and unscheduled eating habits. Studies have identified that human body works on natural biological clock that is termed as Circadian Rhythms. Several physiological functions in the human body undergo natural rhythmic changes in the course of 24-hour period that are seriously disturbed in night shift workers. For instance, the heart rate and body temperature for individuals getting adequate sleep are lowest around 4:00 am and are at peak around 12:00 pm. For night shift workers, the circadian rhythms are disturbed and this can be linked to most disturbing health effects such as gastrointestinal problems, increased risk for cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes (Baldwin and Barrett 149-155; Levi 119-136; Blask et al. 11174-11184; Arendt 10-20). Additionally, night shift working may also aggravate diseases such as diabetes mellitus, epilepsy and thyrotoxicosis (LaDOU 525-530). Studies on night shift working women showed an increased risk of breast cancer. More precisely, these women working during the nights have 60 percent higher chances of developing breast cancer when compared to other women. The reason for this is linked with the production of a hormone Melatonin that occurs during the night and there is a lack of this hormone in night shift working women. Additionally, problems such as irregular menstrual cycles and pain during menstrual periods are also high in these women. There are also problems such as higher risk of spontaneous abortions, low fertility, delayed fetal development, premature delivery and low birth weight faced by women who work during the night (OHCOW 1-6). Night shift working people are ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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