Doing night shifts? You are putting good health to sleep

Employees clocking in for evening, overnight or other irregular shifts -- what's known as shift work -- are at a higher risk for a host of health problems. As the shift work disrupts the body’s circadian rhythms and causes them to become out of sync with the external environment or behavioral cycles

- Doing Night shifts? You are putting good health to sleep

The number of employees heading for night shifts in BPOs and call centres are increasing; as attractive salaries draw youngsters to jobs where they have to work night shifts. This could pose a danger not only to the employees working in BOP or call centre, but other professions also which require people to work during night, said doctors.

“Many patients who work in night shifts complain of sleep deprivation, as it disrupts the normal routine of the person. Because, body takes time to get accustomed to the night shift routine. If the person works in the night, he should sleep in the morning but that doesn’t happen. So a person may sleep at work, feel fatigued, drowsy, there is a lack of concentration and depression,” said Dr. Heena Merchant Pandit, Consultant Psychiatrist and  assistant professor in department of psychiatry, KEM Hospital, Parel.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a shift worker is not just someone who works nights, but anyone who works outside a steady 9 to 5 schedule. And working in the night can also cause certain social issues that decrease well-being and happiness.

Dr. Avinash De Sousa , Consultant Psychiatrist, Founder Trustee – Desousa Foundation, explained “It changes the biological clock of the body which is been set in such a way that, ones should be sleeping in the night. You are making your body go into active mode when it is supposed to be in the rest mode. So these people are only able to sleep for five-six hours.  Over the time your body may adjust. But a lot of rhythms of your various physiological processes in the body get affected. And this leads to anxiety, mood swings, headache, memory problems, and irritability. It also results in low immunity, affects the diet and disturbs the social life.”

Doctors added that Shift work is also linked to stomach problems and increased risk of accidents or injury. “Further one can get exhausted, suffer from indigestion, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension and there is increase in suicidal tendency. They can get addicted to smoking and alcohol,” said Dr. Sandeep Sonawane, Consultant Physician, Sunshine Hospital, Nerul, Navi Mumbai.

Doctors tell that working in the night shift causes stress. “Due to stress, most youngsters are heading for medical problems at any early age,” warned psychiatrist Dr. Neeta Doshi, who is a private practitioner.

Doctors say that night shouldn’t be for a longer period of time. “After 10 days of night shift, one should be back in the day mode for around 20-25 days. As if one remains in night shift only, then he is going to suffer,” said DR. De Sousa.

“People, who do night shifts, can have stress induced diabetes along with the other health issues. Night shift workers tend to drink more coffee so the caffeine intake is high. Caffeine is good as well as bad, as it can cause acidity, insomnia, constipation and so on. Person may tend to lose or gain weight, depending upon his body type. Opt for green tea, fluids, fruits, roasted chana, kurmura, oats chivda. Avoid oily food and go for salads, paratha with dahi and a plain vegetable sandwich”,  advised Ghag, Ankita Ghag, clinical nutritionist, Co-founder and director, Vacchan Aarogya.