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Get Some Sleep: When shift work disrupts your rest

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posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 01:18 AM
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Get Some Sleep: When shift work disrupts your rest


pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com

An estimated 20 percent of the American workforce does some type of shift work. This doesn’t have to mean working the graveyard shift. It can mean any work done between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Most sleep doctors agree that working at night, from a biologic point of view, is not natural for human beings. We have evolved to be active in the daytime and to sleep at night. In fact nearly every cell in our body has a circadian rhythm, meaning that biological processes have a 24-hour cycle. And this is how we lived for thousands of years, until the invention of the lightbulb, which has allowed u
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posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 01:18 AM
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As one who works a shift work (rotating 12 hour) I can say that some days are more difficult to adjust than others. Some days flow smoothly.

Yet no matter how difficult or smooth my days go I always feel very worn down and tired around 2-4 in my working wake cycle. No matter if I am on day or night shift from 2-4 I feel as though I could just go to sleep.

I know some I work with have fallen asleep at stop lights not more than 5 min. from work. I agree that many of the accidents happen out of the lack of thought due simply to lack of sleep.

More and more research is showing the consequences of shift work. It has been linked to work-related and traffic accidents, to psychiatric and GI illness and even to heart disease and cancer. In fact, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (a subcommittee of the World Health Organization) published a statement in 2007 that classified shift work as a “probable carcinogen.”



Luckily for me I have never slept well so I have adjusted to going for long hours on little or no sleep. I do use sleep aids though to help me fall asleep.

My next concern though is the health factor. We have heard for years that the shift workers are less healthy. Normally this is a combination of eating habits and the sleep issue. It seems to add years to one’s life. I have seen co-workers age fairly quickly in just a few years. I myself have gained some weight (though I am not at the weight I should have been at for years) 10 LBS in the past two years.


Cancer is thought to be linked to shift work because of the suppression of melatonin, which is normally at its highest during the biological night. If you’re working under bright lights at night, you produce less melatonin. Melatonin, a naturally occurring “darkness hormone” secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, is a potent antioxidant, and secreting less could explain the connection between night work and cancer.


I also try to spend time outside (when it is warm) to make sure I get natural light as well. I do think that years of this sort of work has caused me to have a need to wear sunglasses though even on cloudy days simply because of the light difference.

What really can be done though? If we stop all 24/7 production in the U.S. to help with health issues we fall behind in the productivity of services worldwide. Our only hope would be to look for more natural like light sources or even better health plans for employees from companies that have such work schedules.


Studies have shown that melatonin can be a useful sleep aid to people trying to sleep in the daytime. In fact, it is much more successful at inducing sleep when taken in the daytime when your levels are naturally low. It should be taken when you are already home because it will likely start having an effect in about 30 minutes.

The other big piece of advice if you’re working the graveyard shift is to try to not completely shift your sleep/wake time when you have days off. Try to have a bedtime that is in between your nightshift bed time and the time that a day worker would go to bed. That way, you have sleep/wake times on days off that allow you to socialize or take care of your affairs, but you will still have a late bedtime so that when you go back to work, you can make the transition more easily.


I believe I will look into getting some melatonin as well.


Raist


pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 02:16 AM
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I'm glad you've posted this. I think a lot of people are unaware of these hazards of working odd shifts. I spent years working night shifts because it was safe,guaranteed work because so few people are willing to do it. I think the real question is do wereally need to have a society where people are forced to work during times which are out of sync with our natural body cycles?

I think that suggesting we find a way to find more natural light sources for people to use during night shifts,while a certainly a decent idea, doesn't address the root of the problem. It wouldn't make much difference anyway. Your body still knows it's night time regardless,your still not going to get proper sleep and you're still not getting enough exposure to sunlight.

The real answer, I think, is to re-evaluate the mechanisms used to drive civilization as whole and place health and personal well-being ahead of business needs. Believe it or not,this would actually make society more productive. There is this fallacy that more work/man-hours equals more productivity. Not so,my friends. The real driver of success is quality over quantity.

Additionally,I feel that globalization and time zones are two of the most toxic elements of modern business which prevent today's workers in multi-national corporations from being able to live something resembling a normal life. Tell me again,what is so important that you must force your managers to be at the office for a 3 A.M.(your time) video conference with your colleagues in India or China?

Just my two cents,for what it's worth...



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 02:20 AM
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Some people who have been trying to save the lost NZ miners have been on adrenaline and awake for 5 days.

The posed rescue teams have been spelled, because they obviously have to be at top speed, but the mayor says he has not slept for 5 days and maybe a couple of other people.

I think they will crash out very soon. And at what cost to them?



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 02:33 AM
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reply to post by FlyingJadeDragon
 


You make good points.

Trust me I long for the days where I would not have to work the shift I do. My schedule looks something like this.
12 hour shifts: 2 day shift, off 2, 3 night shift, off 2, 2 day shift, off 3, 2 night shift, off 2, and so forth.

It can make planning things in the future a bit difficult and some days I completely have no idea what day it is. I have realized in the last few years that as I grow older it is only getting worse.

The bad thing is that I do not see a chance that things will change. To many people demand more stuff which drive those in ruling us to demand we work more hours. The real question. Is it the rich wanting us to slave more for them or is it people just like us wanting more material possessions causing us to work hours like this?

Raist



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 02:35 AM
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reply to post by catwhoknows
 


I believe they will fall back into their normal sleep cycles. They have careers that allow them to sleep nights normally.

Sure, they will crash and feel something similar to jet lag, but they will recover. If anything comes from it they might feel a bit sick for possibly a week after but they will return to normal (not in the sense of the loss they experienced but in health and sleep).

Raist



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 02:43 AM
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Being in retail i have odd hours myself. I will wrok lets say, tesudays, wednesdays, 3 pm to 10 30 pm..home by 11 pm. thursday off, but go into work for a truck delivery 11 00 pm to like 8 am. if its a holiday, truck wil be moved to friday night, 11 00 pm to 8 am saturday, ten have to come back for 4 pm to 10 30 pm in that case. wihout holiday ide have friday off, work saturday/sunday 3 pm to 10 30 pm. and have monday completely to myself. its not so easy to re adjust the next day after truck for me, simply becuase of sleep hours. i'll get home, sleep fro like 1 / 130 pm after normal truck day, wake up at like 10/ 10 30 pm be up till 4 30 am, wake up around 1 pm just enough time to eat and try to wake up..and at work, find so much energy i dont have to simply stand up.



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 02:44 AM
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As someone who is often nocturnal and has been for years I'd like to add someperspective, I'd also like to add that I'm single and live alone. I believe that plays a huge part in the equation.

In most home environments things follow a set timescale. Schooling for kids, shopping, television program times, transportation etc etc. It is keyed up to represent a "norm".

For me, I sleep when I'm tired, regardless of what time it is and work when I need to. It is what comes most naturally for me and following the natural ryhthm of my body clock is MY "norm". Am I one of the fortunate ones?

If a person works the night shift, then for most of them it must operate alongside a world that is set to a different clock and the crossover must surely have a greater effect and "toll" when the two collide. A family person for example would try to also function at times when their family is doing their everyday stuff and the world around them has a certain beat, but the times for those things isn't always in accordance with the night worker. For me, living alone in the middle of nowhere and being single there is no conflict except where the outside world has to play it's part. Shops, friends schedules, transport etc, but I maybe have a little more flexibility than some.

I can't say much concerning the chemical goings-on but if I'm happy and healthy and sleep well then I must be doing something right. What has been engineered over the years as day and night for the obsession of commercialism is the enemy of most nightshift workers I imagine. Wouldn't it be nice if those shift workers could come home to their family and friends and enjoy a normal mealtime, a visit to the bar to see their mates, go to the cinema or do some gardening? All that is in reverse and the wind-down from work is shot to pieces.

Also, bear in mind that the hours for some shift workers is often not the regular 8 hour day for 5 days a week, another standard that sets up a very strong schedule for day to day life that is shared by a majority.

Interesting stuff.

I had a roast dinner at 3.30 yesterday morning.



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 02:49 AM
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reply to post by ziggy1706
 


When I talked about getting outside when it is warm I think that helps a lot.

Really, if you get a chance go for a walk, or a bike ride and do some form of exercise even if light. I noticed when I started doing that it made me feel better for the days going back into work. Some days I simply do not get to sleep until I have been awake for well over 24 hours. The next day I feel pretty wore out unless I get outside and move about a bit.

Over the summer I was riding 6 to 8 miles on a bike and it really helped. I got time alone to think and soak up some very important natural vitamins as well.

Raist



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 02:58 AM
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reply to post by nerbot
 


You are probably right in saying that most people work the shifts that best suit them. However, in the last three to four years I think that has changed. I think more people are taking jobs they are not suited for just to have an income.

I see people working where I do now that just cannot cope with the shifts. You really see this on the night shifts. People come in with little or no sleep and try to make it through 12 hours working in conditions that could become dangerous if they are not in their full capacities.

I myself stay up the night before I go in on night shift (hence my being awake at this point now) so that I can sleep through the day and be ready for that first night. Many do not do this at all.

As for the eating foods at odd hours, yeah I am with you there too. I can eat anything at anytime so long as I am hungry for it. So people still try to have certain foods at the normal times when they are working and sleeping odd times. They look at me funny for eating the things I do at the times I do.

Raist



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 03:08 AM
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I am nocturnal by nature,but when you have kids, job, ect, you don't get to live your natural sleep cycle.
I have had the opportunity to listen to my body and find out my normal sleep cycle. Meaning I went to bed when my body told me it was time to go to sleep and woke up with out the assistance of an alarm clock. My ideal sleep schedule was from 4:30 am to 1:30pm. As normal insomniac, when I listened to my body I had no trouble sleeping.
Unfortunately life doesn't allow me to do what I discovered was best for me, so I struggle with insomnia and fatigue during the day. I will say for all you insomniacs out there Melatonin for the win. I highly recommend the sublingual tabs over the regular pills. They are far more effective. I have also found that there is a huge difference in brands I don't want to advocate for one particular brand, but if you find that one brand is not working for you, try another.



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 03:13 AM
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reply to post by Raist
 


Thanks for that Riast.

Gotta make another line, so thanks again.



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 03:14 AM
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reply to post by calstorm
 


I am certainly going to look into the melatonin thing after my next few nights of work. I think my normal sleep cycle would be similar to yours, but as you say having a wife and child as well as a job makes that impossible.

I take it that you can find melatonin near the vitamin section?

Raist



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 03:32 AM
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reply to post by nerbot
 
I agree that living alone is key to surviving working at night. I worked second shift for fifteen years and when I had people living with me I would get sick because they could not restrain themselves from on purpose waking me up for some stupid reason or another.
The other thing is to have a sleeping area where all light is completely blocked out to where there is no way to tell if it was day or night.
Another thing I found helpful was an open all night Wall-Mart between my work and home.
So working at night is survivable and I am naturally a night person anyway. Even though I don't work now, I still have a habit of staying up till 5:00 am. (my windows are still covered)



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 04:08 AM
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Very interesting thread.

I have worked shift work for 25 years.. about 10 or so on second shift the remainder on the night shift. I like working nights. I started working nights to avoid day care issues and have stayed way past my children needed watching because I like it. I like avoiding the BS of the bosses and coworker personalities. The extra pay didn't hurt either.

I'm not sure any health issues I have had are directly related to working nights but I have heard all the time spent under un-natural light is not good. Most people are deficient in Vit D and night shift workers more so, therefore I take a suppliment. I have also read that woman who work nights are more prone to breast cancer.

I was recently off work for three weeks due to surgery and although my sleep did adjust somewhat to a "regular" cycle it didn't completely. I would wake up around 2-3am and be awake for a couple of hours and then as the house emptied, kids to school, hubs to work I would go back to bed..

I tend to sleep in pieces.. a few hours in the morning-ish and a few in the evening before I go to work. I tend to have chronic joint pain, some due to arthritis but several doctors have told me it is also due to the fact I don't sleep enough.
I think I will take your suggestion and try some melatonin..I could use longer stretches of sleep.

Thanks for the info.



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 07:43 AM
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Originally posted by jmdewey60
The other thing is to have a sleeping area where all light is completely blocked out to where there is no way to tell if it was day or night.


Here in France, shutters are the norm so no problem there. The only drawback is that it's almost impossible to have houseplants unless one is in the habit of opening the shutters as regular as clockwork.

I guess that's why plastic plants and flowers are so popular here and it's hard to tell they're false because they look so real.

I also have 3 adorable cats who would sleep 24 hours a day if they didn't have to eat. They never wake me up and certainly keep me nice and warm when I'm sleeping. I think I am becoming a cat.



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 09:41 PM
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reply to post by nerbot
 
Flew over it but never been there. I was staying at Torino for a while and there were these things that I suppose could be called shutters. What they looked like was heavy slats that ran in grooves on either side of the window and you could pull on a cord and they would separate some and then you could pull more and they would go up past the window opening, leaving it so you could stick your head out and look around.
When they were down, it was like a part of the wall being quite impenetrable.



posted on Nov, 25 2010 @ 02:41 PM
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I put some stuff called “blackout” over my window and then a window blind made of pretty much the same stuff. No real light enters my room aside from under the door a bit.

After that I turn on a fan to cover most noise, turn all phones off aside from the one I cannot hear anyway, and burn incense. The only thing that will wake me is if someone comes to the door and the dogs start barking.

Of course I have trouble sleeping (I am a very light sleeper) anyway so of course there is the sleeping pill that I take to help me fall asleep more quickly.

Raist



posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 07:11 PM
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reply to post by Raist
 


I went probably a step farther than that, at my house.
For inside the house, I bought some cabinet quality plywood and glued on these thick acoustic ceiling tiles to the outside facing side. I left the nice, finished side toward the bedroom. I cut it to slide into the window opening of the wall and attached it to the window frame.
On the outside, I took 2 X 4's and made a frame that would slide into the window opening and attached clear Plexiglas type material to that, the theory being that it would reflect traffic noise, and what got past that would be baffled by the window itself, and then absorbed by the acoustic tile.
Kind of a funny way to live, I guess but now I am used to it and can't think of wanting to ever change it.



posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 07:31 PM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 


Yeah it sounds like you went all the way with it.

I wonder what my wife would think of that sort of thing.

Raist



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