Millions of people around the world work nights. In the United Kingdom, it’s more than three million – or 11.7% of the workforce.
Working late can impact relationships, social lives and, of course, sleep which can all lead to the development of life threatening diseases like Heart disease and Cancer. It also substantially weakens the immune system – not great when combatting Coronavirus
The NSF (national sleep foundation) recommends between seven and nine hours sleep per 24 hours. However, those who work unsociable hours often only get between four and five hours sleep. But even if they do get the recommended 8 hours, shift-workers suffer permanent “social jet-lag” because of their ever-changing work/sleep patterns which is so damaging to our natural diurnal rhythms.
In fact, the deleterious effects of shift work are SO severe that the World Health Association has classified shift work as an independent cancer risk in its own light.
A survey by the American Academy of Sleep Science revealed that the older we get, the less sleep we have, with Generation Y (aged 20-34) getting six hours and 48 minutes of sleep on average, Generation X (aged 35-49) six hours and 25 minutes, and Baby Boomers (aged over 50) just six hours and 18 minutes.
How does that increase your risk of developing Cancer or Heart disease?
There have been many studies on how sleep deprivation can increase your risk of cancer, especially in Women.
A study published by the American Association for Cancer Research in January, which examined more than 60 pieces of research, concluded that for every five years of night shift work, the risk of developing breast cancer among women increases by around 3.3%.
Whereas, men are twice as likely as women to have a heart attack.
Through a study published in 2016, the American Heart Association (AHA) found that insufficient sleep and sleep-cycle disruption can impair the body’s natural rhythms and cardiovascular function.