How Working the Night Shift Could Affect Your Health

“Gonna be a long night, it’s gonna be alright…on the night shift”. Well, that’s what the Commodores thought, but for Britain’s three million night shift workers those lyrics may be a bit misleading. Across the UK we have more night shift workers than ever before. Over the last ten years the number of night shift workers has risen by 7%, in fact, one in 12 British workers is awake and grafting while the rest of us are sound asleep. But there’s a problem, as the numbers of night shift workers rise, incidences of health problems also start to mount up. Nausea, forgetfulness and chronic fatigue are just some of the negative impacts of working the night shift for long periods of time, and, if left untreated these issues can lead to a range of wider and more serious health problems.

  • Lack of sleep has recently been linked to obesity and some studies have even suggested an association with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • Sleep patterns are disrupted, rhythmic genes become arrhythmic and the feeling of never having had enough rest prevails.
  • Night shift workers suffer from the availability of good food options in the middle of the night and the reduced nutritional intake can lead to immunity deficiencies – that’s when all the niggles, colds and sniffles kick in.

A healthy worker clocks in, a sick worker phones in and that is a big cost to a business. There have been calls for employers to provide staff health assessments but you can go one step further with the Orange Grove Clinic. We recently started to offer specialist ‘Health for Business’ packages and have already signed up two forward-thinking Norwich organisations. One recent client told us: “The organisation and the understanding of our needs was outstanding,” and they gave us a 96% approval rating. Our in-house work wellbeing specialists include an experienced Nutritionist, a sleep solutions speaker, stress management experts and, of course, our expert team of massage therapists. We’ll come to your place of work and offer suggestions on eating for energy, how to improve your sleep, posture checks and cranial massage. We’ll share easy-to-implement tips, such as:

  • Always take some food to keep up energy but avoid white carbohydrates and sugary snacks – these provide short term energy bursts but won’t last throughout the night.
  • Pack your snack box with complex carbohydrates such as hummus and slow release energy such as oat cakes, flapjacks unroasted or unsalted nuts.
  • Make sure also that you get at least six hours sleep between shifts and fit blackout curtains to provide maximum darkness as this will also affect how much melatonin your body produces.

Making an investment in the wellbeing of your workforce is money well spent, in fact according to research, for each £1 you invest in staff wellbeing you can expect to see a return of up to 200%. For more information, take a look at our Health for Business page or  contact us today to see how we can help your workforce. And don’t forget this also applies to people who work during the day!