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If you or know someone who does "Shift work" read this; it could save your life.

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  • Aug 28th, 2018 12:01 pm
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If you or know someone who does "Shift work" read this; it could save your life.

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/whitecoat/read ... -1.4738857

One in four Canadians does shift work, and one in five works nights, according to the Workers Health and Safety Centre.
It's a lifestyle that can be hazardous to your health.
People who do shift work and especially night shift on a regular basis have higher rates of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Those are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, so it's no surprise that chronic shift workers are more likely to get heart attacks, strokes and heart failure at some point in their lives. They have higher rates of ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems. They are also at increased risk of kidney disease.
In 2007, the World Health Organization said shift work was a probable cause of cancer. People who work nights are at increased risk of breast, prostate and skin cancer. Shift workers tend to be tired all the time. They are also more likely to suffer from depression.

Humans have evolved to sleep at night and be awake during the day. But as soon as you begin working a string of nights, the brain's internal clock begins to shift so that you can be awake at night and sleep during the day. It's a process that takes many days and requires that you stick with being up at night and asleep during the day even on days off.
The body's internal clocks
In a new study, researchers examined the effect in healthy volunteers by having them do simulated night shifts. After three such night shifts in a row, the brain's internal clock was two hours out of sync. That was expected since the process of adjusting the brain's clock is gradual.
What was completely unexpected is that the clocks inside the volunteers' digestive tracts (the clocks that tell us to eat during the day and to fast at night) adjusted to nights extraordinarily quickly. While the brain's clock was just two hours out of sync, the digestive clock had jumped by a whopping 12 hours.
For example, if it was midnight for the volunteers, the clock in their brain said it was 2 a.m., and the clocks in their digestive tract said it was noon.
With signals that conflicted, it's no wonder their metabolism was disrupted. And it took just three nights for that to happen.
Until this study, researchers assumed that night shifts disrupt the sleep-wake which in turn disrupts other bodily processes. No one knew that the clock inside people's digestive organs that controls eating and fasting could be changed so profoundly and so quickly while the brain's clock barely changed at all.
As part of the study, the researchers identified a large number of markers of abnormal metabolism in the bloodstream of shift workers.
Those markers indicated that the volunteers were laying down abdominal fat instead of burning calories. That would help explain why they are more likely to gain weight and develop diabetes.
It's plausible that changes in the metabolism of shift workers alter the activity of cells involved in the development of cancer later in life. Once those processes are identified, researchers may be able to identify the genes that control them, and perhaps even prevent cancer in shift workers.
And that's not the only news. This study is also the first to show how alterations in the kidney's clock put shift workers at risk of kidney disease.
The most important implication of the study is that the health risk comes not from working at night but from eating big meals at night. Experts have come around to the hypothesis that the best way to prevent obesity, diabetes and other direct health problems in shift workers is to restrict calories during the night shift.
A recent study found that restricting feeding in mice kept awake at night shifted their digestive clocks back to the normal routine of eating during the day and fasting at night. There is some evidence that doing so in humans may help prevent diabetes.
A lot more research needs to be done to prove that when you eat is more important than when you sleep. Thanks to this study, researchers will be able to do blood tests that measure the effectiveness of tactics that minimize the risks of shift work.
In the meantime, experts recommend that night shift workers set aside a block of seven to nine hours for sleep during the day. Use blackout curtains and nightshades to block out light, and earplugs and sound machines to block or mask out noise.
If you want to apply the latest research related to diet, eat as little as possible at night.
Experts recommend avoiding fried foods at night because they are hard to digest. Stick with light broths, rice and yogurt plus foods rich in protein such as eggs, peanut butter, tuna, peas, beans and roast turkey.
Drink lots of water during your shift. After coming home from a night shift in the morning, eat carbohydrate-rich foods like bread, cereals, muffins and fruit because they make you sleepy.

The study has some important implications for people who don't work nights but like to snack at night. If you don't want to gain weight, lay off fried foods, fats and carbohydrates.
10 replies
Deal Addict
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Jun 22, 2006
4170 posts
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I am a shift worker (Flight Dispatcher) who works 2 days, 2 nights, and then is off for 4 days. The shifts are 12 hours but are in an office environment where it is generally dim/dark (due to each of us using 3 computer screens). Generally speaking I don't have any issues with sleep and I ensure I get at least 7 hours of sleep when it is time to do so. Luckily for me, I have very little issue staying asleep and rarely wake up in the middle of the night. That being said, I am young (29) and healthy. I do not require stimulants to stay awake however if I do, I have no more than one coffee per day. No energy drinks either. Many people say that my pattern of work would be difficult to adjust to but I have yet to have any issues. The transition between my last day shift and my first night gives me 24 hours to rest, run errands, cook, etc. I make it a point to eat my three meals per day and drink water which helps. I do not eat while driving or consume excessive amounts of fast food/sweets/soda. If I buy food, it's something from a restaurant take-out that's non-processed.
Last edited by JAGpilot on Aug 1st, 2018 10:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
If you drive dangerously I hope you get caught and lose your license/car/dignity! :twisted: :twisted:
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Aug 31, 2017
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JAGpilot wrote:
Aug 1st, 2018 10:04 pm
I am a shift worker (Flight Dispatcher) who works 2 days, 2 nights, and then is off for 4 days. The shifts are 12 hours but are in an office environment where it is generally dim/dark (due to each of us using 3 computer screens). Generally speaking I don't have any issues with sleep and I ensure I get at least 7 hours of sleep when it is time to do so. Luckily for me, I have very little issue staying asleep and rarely wake up in the middle of the night. That being said, I am young (29) and healthy. I do not require stimulants to stay awake however if I do, I have no more than one coffee per day. No energy drinks either. Many people say that my pattern of work would be difficult to adjust to but I have yet to have any issues. The transition between my last day shift and my first night gives me 24 hours to rest, run errands, cook, etc. I make it a point to eat my three meals per day which helps. I do not eat while driving or consume excessive amounts of fast food. If I buy food, it's something from a restaurant take-out that's non-processed.
Not for long, 30 is right around the corner.
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Jun 22, 2006
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MyNameWasTaken wrote:
Aug 1st, 2018 10:06 pm
Not for long, 30 is right around the corner.
I go to the gym and have been slim my entire life. My eating habits are good and if anything I could stand to gain 10lbs of muscle (trying).
If you drive dangerously I hope you get caught and lose your license/car/dignity! :twisted: :twisted:
Deal Addict
Mar 29, 2012
1086 posts
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Vancouver
I did nightshift for 2 years and I seriously felt like it ruined my body for me permanently.
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May 11, 2009
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I worked afternoons for 2 years and although the people were great, atmosphere was relaxed, and overtime was plentiful, it was nasty to come home and not fall asleep until 3Am and then sleep in only to wake up and watch the clock for when it's time to go to work. Really felt out of sync with the world
"I possess a device, in my pocket, capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and get in arguments with strangers"
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Aug 22, 2001
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Well this is old news, but good to talk about.

"Night shift work has been consistently associated with higher risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer. In 2007 the World Health Organization classified night shift work as a probable carcinogen due to circadian disruption. In a new study, researchers found that women working rotating night shifts for five or more years appeared to have a modest increase in all-cause and CVD mortality and those working 15 or more years of rotating night shift work appeared to have a modest increase in lung cancer mortality. These results add to prior evidence of a potentially detrimental effect of rotating night shift work on health and longevity."


just google night shift health effects.


I used to be able to turn around from days, to weekend overnights, and back to days.
easy in 20's. last time I did that recently, I felt sick and moody for a few days.
Member
Aug 17, 2013
221 posts
89 upvotes
Toronto
i worked 6 years on shift work... every 3 weeks from mornings, afternoons to graveyards. Killed me. turned 27 and felt that i need to change that.

Best thing i have ever did. Now i'm at a 9-5 job which still sucks but not harming my life.
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Nov 22, 2008
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North York
Take these studies with a grain of salt. Health status includes overall lifestyle habits, person's environment and genetics. Get enough sleep to fell well rested and not everyone feels great with after 8 hours of rest. Some people need less, some more and some take multiple naps. Eat a balanced diet and life an active lifestyle. Don't smoke or drink alcohol or do so in moderation. And look after your mental health. Look at people with 9 to 5 work hours, not everyone or even the majority are healthy without making sure the other aspects in their life are in order.
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Jun 24, 2015
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Woodbridge, ON
I did night shifts, and lots of it when I was younger, had no problems doing it, but now that im older, I also have 2 young kids so getting the proper sleep is important to me, if I don't get proper rest, I can have an accident on the 401, and drive into a tractor trailer and kill myself due to exhaustion
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Feb 17, 2007
5449 posts
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It's taking a toll for sure, but on the other end I try to convince myself that it's outweighed by the fact I don't constantly have a boss looking over my shoulder, I'm stuck in traffic much less often and I make more $$$ (I'm unionized so I have some very decent shift bonuses).

As some have mentioned, as I get older, I seem to feel the effects more. I'm about to pull the trigger and take a pretty steep salary decrease to quit this dead end shift cycle. Called a meeting with my boss to give him the news, but he left on vaca so I'll wait for another week.

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