Opinions about night shift and personal health

  1. 0
    Hi,

    I recently had a discussion with some of my co-workers regarding working nights and overall inpact on health. a few years back, I recall hearing that nurses who work on the night shift have a greater incidence of cancer? Something to do with disruption of melatonin production or something like this??

    I am curious what others' opinions are; whether you think that working nights (particularly for many years) negatively affects personal health.

    I work exclusively on nights and prefer it over dayshift per my personal preference, but I'm concerned that my health may suffer in the long run. I don't think I eat as well (veggies and such) during the night. I don't eat that much at work and when I do, it's usually fruit or cereal.

    Love to hear your thoughts!
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  3. 17 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I personally am a diabetic and have a hard time with that. I think because I eat at night when I am working. Then when I am off my body expects to eat late at night also. It may be in my head but I am having a hard time with that right now.

    Personally I love working nights, but may be looking for a day job soon to try to get my blood sugars in order. I do not know maybe I am just getting old!
  5. 0
    I've worked night shift for 17 years and love it but there is no doubt that it does not suit everyone. Amongst other things you can suffer depression,gastric troubles,sleep pattern disturbances and it can ,apparently take years off you! (I once worked out that my chances of living to a ripe old age due to smoking,obesity and night shift meant that I really shouldn't be here any more!:spin:)
    Of the RN's on nights at the moment 2 of us are diabetic and the third suffers from high blood pressure!
  6. 1
    A recently published study in Sweden has refuted the claims that night shift workers have a higher incidence of cancer.

    http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/new...ugust/18256990
    NursingAgainstdaOdds likes this.
  7. 0
    I worked night shift for approx 7 months as a new grad before moving to another job. While I was on night shift I suffered from terrible anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and sleep disturbances including insomnia at times and sleeping for days sometimes. Since changing jobs and going to day shift my blood pressure is now normal, I sleep approx 7 hours every night and feel rested, and my anxiety and depression are under control.
  8. 0
    I did a research paper many years ago and it reavealed night shift workers have higher incidences of just about every illness, GI, cardiac, depression, more absenteeism etc. That's was a long time ago I did that paper. Rotating shifters from days to nights faired the next worse.

    It's very hard on the body forcing it to do what it shouldn't be doing. There of course are many people whose bodies fit right into it very well. I worked nights for 14 years and the fatigue finally got to me. What finally did me in was switching to 12 hour shifts only three days week. I didn't get a good sleep pattern in like when I was working 8 hour nights, and did a lot of flipflopping and napping. I didn't know if it was day or night on my days off sometimes.
  9. 0
    I have been working night shift for 2 1/2 years and I can honestly say it has destroyed my health in almost every way. And I dont feel like exercising anymore. I usually dont even know what day of the week it is. Sometimes on my days off, I will wake up in the evening when the sun is half up/half down and I cant figure out if its morning or night. My GI is so upset, it has quit working literally. I am having surgery next month. My nerves cant take much anymore, I just never feel good anymore. I hate it. I work 12 hour shifts. If I worked 8, I think I could handle it much better....more time to sleep each day. When I was younger, I could do it easier. Some people are cut out for it, some arent. Im not. But even if you are, it still isnt healthy. It messes up your circadium rhythm (did I spell that right?). I worked last night from 6:45 until 7:30 this morning. Its now 11:30 and I cant sleep.
  10. 1
    I think it depends on a person's circadian rhythm. I have been a "night person" since I was an infant (according to my mother). My brain doesn't engage until noon and I perk up at 2200. I also sleep better during the day. I am diabetic and don't have a problem controlling my blood sugar on nights, as long as I watch what I eat.

    Day shift is a completely different story. It doesn't matter if I do 8 hour shifts or 12 hour shifts, if I am on days, I am asleep with 30 minutes of getting home when I work day shift. When I get home from a 12 hour night shift, it usually takes me 3 hours to wind down enough to be able to sleep.
    rn/writer likes this.
  11. 1
    Quote from Ariesbsn
    I think it depends on a person's circadian rhythm. I have been a "night person" since I was an infant (according to my mother). My brain doesn't engage until noon and I perk up at 2200. I also sleep better during the day. I am diabetic and don't have a problem controlling my blood sugar on nights, as long as I watch what I eat.

    Day shift is a completely different story. It doesn't matter if I do 8 hour shifts or 12 hour shifts, if I am on days, I am asleep with 30 minutes of getting home when I work day shift. When I get home from a 12 hour night shift, it usually takes me 3 hours to wind down enough to be able to sleep.

    I remember reading all the scare stories. But then I read a wonderful article (wish I'd saved it) that said the hazards don't apply to those who work nights voluntarily. People who work third shift against their will have higher stress levels and all sorts of other fallout from fighting their innate circadian rhythms. But for those of us who do it by choice because it does line up with our bio-clocks, there appears to be little or no increase in health problems.

    I personally would hate, hate, hate to work days. The few times I have had to do it for orientation purposes darn near finished me off. At least it gave me empathy for what nights feels like to others. I am naturally a night owl. When I'm not working, I sleep from 0400 to 1200. Working nights comes naturally to me.

    So, it's not so much the hours as how your bio-clock responds to them. I'm not certain whether you can train yourself to have different circadian rhythms. All I know is that I have always been able to find a job because I can do third shift.
    tinderbox likes this.
  12. 0
    My bio-clock is not responding to nites. I'm currently working three 12's a week, and my sleep patterns are all over the place. I need Ambien to help me sleep on my nites off. Then, I find that I'm still amotivated and tired during my time off. In a couple of weeks, I'll start doing four 8's a week instead (still at nite). I'm just hoping that my routine will normalize a bit (at least until a day shift comes available).... In terms of being sick, I'm actually very healthy. My body is just very stressed with these hours. It's all part of paying your dues as a new grad...


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