Effects of Night Shift Work to the Circadian Rhythm
Circadian rhythm sleep disorder can be caused by night shift work. Most people do not realize the negative effects of night shift work can do to the body. While millions of people are sleeping soundly in their homes during late-night hours, a lot of night shift workers, such as nurses, security guards, medical professionals, police officers, and other professions that require working round-the-clock are still working or preparing to go to work. Many workers who work night shift work suffers from circadian rhythm sleep disorder, which in the long run can produce negative effects to the overall health.
Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder and Night Shift Work
Night Shift Work Can Cause Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder
The circadian rhythm is the body’s internal body clock that regulates the normal sleep-wake cycle of a person. Working night shifts, especially between 11 pm and 7 am can really disrupt the normal circadian rhythm of a person. Even though some studies suggest that it can take 3 years for a person to fully adjust to permanent night shifts, it still does not mean that the body can fully adjust to the abnormal sleep-wake cycle. Circadian rhythm sleep disorder can happen when a person with a night shift work attempts to sleep during the day when the body wants to stay awake, resulting to a contradicting relationship between the circadian rhythm and the sleeping time. Sleeping during the day, when compared to sleeping during the night is light, fragmented, and can easily be disturbed.
Consequences of Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder
The circadian rhythm can greatly affect a person’s job performance, once the circadian rhythm is disrupted. People who are working night shifts may not be aware of negative effects or consequences of not getting to sleep at night. Circadian rhythm sleep disorder can affect a person’s job performance during night shifts, especially between 2 am and 5 am. Researches show that a person is sleepiest between those times. People working night shifts may experience memory gaps, poor motor coordination, decreased intellectual capacity, and mood swings.
Social Consequences of Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder
Aside from negative effects from circadian rhythm sleep disorder caused by night shift work can cause to a person’s health, it can also affect a person’s social life. People who work night shifts have limited time to spend with family and mingle with friends. Most night shift workers miss out on important activities, since activities are usually scheduled during daytime, and night shift workers usually sleep during daytime, to compensate for not being able to sleep whole night. Circadian rhythm sleep disorder should not be taken for granted, since it can greatly affect one’s life.