Health risks that night shift workers face and some ways to overcome them

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in United States has come up with the finding that over 15 million people do not work in the 9-5 shift. This ideally means that they are a lot of night shift workers. Though a variety of reasons can be cited for these people to work in night hours, it does have a binding effect on their health.


Below are listed some of the health risks that night shift workers face and the probable steps they can take to overcome these health risks.

1 Working late hours increases chances of diabetes

Research has found that men in particular who work in night shift are likely to suffer more from diabetes. A study published in PLoS Medicine Journal found that such night workers had an increased chance of developing Type 2 diabetes as working late hours had an impact on their insulin levels.

Working late hours increases chances of diabetes

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2 Increases chances of breast cancer

It is not that only men who are night shift workers suffer from ill effects of working late hours. A study published in International Journal of Cancer has found that women who work late hours have 30 percent more chance of suffering from breast cancer in comparison to those who do not work at night.

Increases chances of breast cancer

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3 Increases risk of heart attack

A research report published in British Medical Journal has found that those working in night shift have an increased chance of suffering from heart attack. This review report was a compilation of 34 studies and found that people suffered from heart attack, ischemic strokes and coronary artery blockage by working late hours.

Increases risk of heart attack

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4 Depression rates get higher

Late shift workers also face the risk of being under continuous depression owing to multiple reasons. This has been confirmed from a report published in International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health. The study found that depression rates are higher among people working in night.

Depression rates get higher

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5 Ways to overcome health risks among late shift workers

The side effects on the health of those who work late hours can be reduced by making some adjustments in their daily schedule. This of course requires support from family and friends as working late hours is never easy.

The environment at home of such people should be calm and serene so that they do get adequate rest, when at home.
Specific health care tips for people working during night hours can be listed as:

  • As your late shift of work ends, you should relax immediately for an hour. You can play some relaxing music or take a bath with warm water before you sleep.
  • The meals need to be taken at same time all days of the week. This sets your biological clock ticking and the body will soon adapt to this schedule.
  • Being alert is easy enough if you develop a habit of taking food rich in proteins. Include vegetables, fruits and peanut butter in your diet. If however, you feel the need to have some sweets, then these should be taken only after the end of your work.
  • Taking any kind of alcoholic beverages before you sleep is not advisable as it disturbs sleep after 2-3 hours and you could suffer from severe health complications.
  • Drinks rich in caffeine such as tea and coffee should be avoided. These interfere with your sleep pattern and encourage insomnia. If at all you need to take some drink during the break, it is better to take orange juice as this energizes you from within.
Ways to overcome health risks among late shift workers

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  • Never sleep on an empty stomach after your shift ends in the night. If you do not feel like taking any solid food, it is better to drink some milk.
  • Ideally block any kind of noises that are common during day time. You can use sponge ear plugs to enjoy a sound sleep. Let others know that you should not be disturbed during this period.
  • Never take any kind of sleeping pills for inducing sleep. Try to get natural sleep as self-medication can lead to disastrous consequences.
  • Minimizing the health risks in such cases is in your hands. Adopt a healthy life pattern and your late work shift will not turn out to be as bad a decision as you may think it to be.

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