Not just shift work affects your family and social life, but it can also lead to many chronic diseases and illnesses. A major study has warned that shift workers, especially those working permanently in the night rotation, may be at increased risk of moderate to severe asthma. Also Read – Ayurveda treatment for asthma: Easy home remedies to clear toxins from the body and reduce symptoms
According to the study published in the journal Thorax, around one in five employees in the developed world works permanent or rotating night shifts. Also Read – World Asthma Day 2020: History, Significance and Theme of this year
The researchers from University of Manchester in the UK wanted to find out if shift work might also be associated with an increased risk of asthma and/or its severity. They analysed medical, lifestyle, and employment information supplied between 2007 and 2010 by 286,825 participants in the UK Biobank. Also Read – Eating red meat, working night shift may increase your risk of heart disease
Surprisingly, they found a 36 per cent increase in the odds of having moderate to severe asthma in permanent night shift workers compared to those working normal office hours.
Shift workers also had higher risk of experiencing symptoms of asthma, such as wheeze and airway whistling, as well as poorer lung function.
Health Effects of Shift Work
Shift work is generally defined as any work schedule that falls outside the 7 am-6 pm window. It includes evening, night, and early morning shifts, as well as fixed or rotating schedules.
Many studies have linked shift work to an increased risk of heart attacks, ulcers, depression, obesity, high blood pressure and sleep disorder.
Changes in lifestyle and biology due to shift work are the main cause of these health problems. Shift workers are less likely to exercise regularly and are more prone to eat unhealthy diet because of time limitation. As their job timing may cut them off from family and friends, shift workers are also are more prone to feeling isolated.
The bigger problem with shift work is the misalignment between your internal clock (circadian rhythm) and the outside world. The body’s biological clock tells us to sleep when it is dark and be awake when it is light. Shift work disrupts this natural sleep/wake cycle and affects how the body functions, which leads to many health problems.
Ways to Combat the Effects of Shift Work
You can reduce the health risks of shift work by making healthy lifestyle choices, which include a balanced diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep.
Many of the risks associated with shift work are linked to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular issues and blood pressure. Therefore, it is extremely important to eat well and exercise regularly.
Practicing a good sleep hygiene may help combat sleep problems or improve sleep quality. Here are some tips to help shift workers sleep well.
- Go to bed and wake up at same time every day, including weekends
- Use dark shades to block out light in the bedroom or wear a sleep mask.
- Limit the use of electronics before bedtime
- Avoid strenuous exercise close to bedtime
- Don’t eat heavy meals and alcohol drinks before bed
- Take a hot bath and use relaxation techniques before bed
- Try using a white noise machine to block out daytime noise.
- Limit caffeine use as it can stay in your body as long as 12 hours.
If possible, limit shift changes to allow your body clock to adjust.
Published : November 18, 2020 12:13 am | Updated:November 18, 2020 12:21 am