With the recent “Spring Forward” change to “Daylight Saving Time” for certain areas, it makes us wonder if the hour’s difference affects those who work on shifts.  It would seem that getting up an hour earlier might be the worst part of it.  However, those who work day shifts would get home an hour earlier than usual, but the night shift folks have to adjust as well.

It has always seemed that the “graveyard” shift would be the hardest, but there are certain people who love to work during those hours.  If you are considering changing to night shift work, it means you’ll be awake when other folks are snoozing, and trying to sleep when most of the world is active.  Some folks take well to the transition, but it can take time and effort on your part.

Here are some of the jobs that include shifts, and we’ll take a look at what health effects may be involved:

  • Nurses
  • E.R. Physicians
  • Manufacturing plant employees
  • Pilots
  • Airline attendants
  • Ground crews
  • Air Traffic Controllers
  • Convenience store employees
  • Police
  • Firemen
  • EMT Rescue Teams
  • Trucking
  • Miners
  • Military

You may be able to name many others, but these are among the busy folks that work day and night, through shift work.  Our military forces must be on the alert all the time, 24/7, and we mentioned them because of the stress factors they face.  Police, firemen, rescue teams are also under much stress.  Firemen work shifts that require them to be on the premises for 48 hours, then off 48 hours, etc.  This may take away from the rest they try to get, because of noise going on in the firehouse.  Earplugs would be of help to them!  They also have a greater risk of injury and metabolic syndrome.

Airports are some of the busiest areas in the world; anyone involved with working for an airline will tell you there is plenty of stress on their job, night or day!  Weather delays, controlling flights, getting passsengers safely to their destinations, can be telling on the health of pilots and other employees.  Lack of sleep is one of the obstacles that have caused problems for pilots.

Laws forbid long-haul truckers to log over a certain amount of driving hours, but they are under pressure to get their loads to a certain spot at a designated time, causing them to try to go a little farther down the road.  Miners are certainly under a strain, to say the least, regardless of the shift they work.  It’s dark in those mines; of course they are well-lit, but miners face so many hazards on a daily basis.

It is a proven fact that long hours + overtime + short sleep (less than 6 hours per day) = depression, injuries, and poor health.  If you decide to take a job that requires shift work and changes your routine, go to your physician and get a good checkup to ensure that your body is healthy enough to adapt.  Be sure you eat the right kinds of food and exercise, as well as take breaks regardless of the shift you work.  It is a fact that night shift is a little harder on the body, so take care of yourself and stay healthy and safe.