Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

The Biologic Clockshop

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

The Biologic Clockshop

Article excerpt

To engage in night work is to strike a Faustian bargain. A price must be paid for the use of the night and the day in ways for which the human body was not designed. People who stay awake at night, when the body calls for sleep, are less alert than they would be during the day, and are more likely to make mistakes. People who sleep during the day, when the body churns with wakefulness, sleep less soundly then they would at night, and they do not sleep as long. Chronic sleep deprivation in and of itself will impair performance, day and night.

Rotating between day and night brings added tribulation; changes in hours of work usually necessitate change in hours for sleeping, and in other daily activities. Workers may be ready for breakfast, for instance, when their families are sitting down to dinner. People who work at night, or change their schedules frequently, have higher incidences of sleep disorders, digestive disorders, mood disturbances, heart disease, and other health problems than their dayworking peers; their family life and social life often suffer as well. …

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