Home Health The Negative Impact of Shift Work on Your Sleep-Wake Cycle

The Negative Impact of Shift Work on Your Sleep-Wake Cycle

by florenciacaron6

What is the Sleep-Wake Cycle & Why Do We Need Sleep?

We spend the majority of our time sleeping and the cycle of our sleep-wake cycles of our bodies

Every species has its own sleep-wake cycle.

Healing and repairing damage is just one of these functions.

The body’s various parts and even our brain require an hour of rest and recuperation after a long day. This is crucial for restoring physical strength and strengthening our immune system.

Society is increasingly dependent on around-the-clock operations that require shift work. Many industries and services rely on a continuous workforce, including manufacturing, energy production, transportation, healthcare, law enforcement, and the military. Based on data collected in the US in 2004 (the last time such data were comprehensively collected), the protective services (police, fire, correction services) have the highest percentage of night and rotating shift workers of any occupation (24.8%), followed by healthcare providers (10.9%) [12]. In 2004, out of more than 15 million US employees working full time on shift or irregular schedules, 5.7 million worked schedules requiring work hours that displace sleep and force wakefulness to be misaligned with the natural circadian rhythm [12].

In this paper, we review short- and long-term biological effects associated with displacing the sleep/wake cycle.

Society

Society is increasingly dependent on around-the-clock operations that require shift work. Many industries and services rely on a continuous workforce, including manufacturing, energy production, transportation, healthcare, law enforcement, and the military. Based on data collected in the US in 2004 (the last time such data were comprehensively collected), the protective services (police, fire, correction services) have the highest percentage of night and rotating shift workers of any occupation (24.8%), followed by healthcare providers (10.9%) [12]. In 2004, out of more than 15 million US employees working full time on shift or irregular schedules, 5.7 million worked schedules requiring work hours that displace sleep and force wakefulness to be misaligned with the natural circadian rhythm [12].

In this paper, we review short- and long-term biological effects associated with displacing the sleep/wake cycle.

Staying awake

Staying awake at night and sleeping during the day for even just one 24-hour period can rapidly lead to changes in more than 100 proteins in the blood, including ones that have an effect on blood sugar, immune function, and metabolism, the new study finds.
You know sleep is important. We’ve all heard about the harmful effects of regularly not getting enough restful sleep, such as increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, and more. But new research offers new evidence on why when we sleep may be of utmost importance when it comes to how those poor-sleep-related problems actually develop.

study published

A study published May 21, 2018, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) showed that staying awake at night and sleeping during the day for even just one 24-hour period can rapidly lead to changes in more than 100 proteins in the blood, including ones that have an effect on blood sugar, immune function, and metabolism. Over time, these biochemical changes in blood protein levels can elevate your risk for health issues such as diabetes, weight gain, and even cancer, says the study’s lead author, Christopher Depner, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Altering Sleep

Altering Sleep and Eating Patterns Leads to Dramatic Changes in Your Blood
Previous research has shown that night-shift work is a risk factor for weight gain and other metabolic disorders. “We know that shift work is associated with increased weight gain, obesity, and diabetes,” says Dr. Depner. To investigate the possible ways that circadian misalignment (eating at night and sleeping during the day) can lead to health problems, Depner and his colleagues set out to examine the ways reversing the sleep-wake cycle affects protein levels in human blood.

study participants

The study participants were six healthy men in their 20s with regular sleep schedules (sleeping an average of eight hours at night), who spent six days in a research center at the University of Colorado Hospital. During their stay, researchers strictly regulated their meals, sleep, activity, and exposure to light.

After spending the first two days following a traditional sleeping and eating schedule (where they slept at night and consumed their meals during the day), the men were gradually transitioned to a simulated night-shift sleeping and eating schedule. On these altered-schedule days, the men were kept up all night and allowed to sleep for 8 hours during the day. On these days, they also ate their meals at night.

The researchers took blood samples from the men every four hours. They found that of the 1,129 proteins being studied, as many as 10 percent, or 129 proteins, were altered by the simulated night shift. Proteins that would normally be more prevalent in higher levels during the day were peaking at night, and vice versa. The researchers were surprised by both the magnitude and amount of these biochemical changes, Depner says. “They changed so much and so rapidly — and these changes happened by the second day.”

Proteins That Regulate Blood Sugar Levels and Calorie Burning Were Thrown Out of Whack When Sleeping and Eating Were Shifted
One of the proteins was glucagon, a key hormone that causes the liver to secrete blood glucose and helps regulate blood sugar levels. During the simulated night-shift phase of the study, glucagon levels rose at night rather than the day and peaked at levels that were higher than in the daytime. “We know that over time, this would be a primary risk for diabetes,” Depner explains.

protein

Another protein that was affected by the night shift was FGF19, or fibroblast growth factor 19, which animal studies have shown can boost calorie burning. On the days when sleep and eating were shifted, the FGF19 levels decreased, which researchers say may be one explanation for why the study participants burned 10 percent fewer calories per minute during these night-waking periods.

“[FGF19] changed in a way that would decrease the energy the body uses,” Depner says — which could lead to weight gain if the pattern continued over time.

The study also identified 30 proteins that fluctuated depending on the time of day, regardless of when an individual slept or ate.

Because light is known to play a significant role in keeping our circadian systems on track, the researchers made sure the participants were in dim candlelight without any exposure to electronics or artificial light at night, notes Depner. Despite this, researchers saw clear changes in protein patterns. “We eliminated cell phones and screens, but still saw negative consequences,” says Depner, meaning that while light may be a factor, it’s not the only one that affects the body’s circadian system and the other processes it influences.

Shift Work and Its Impact on Sleep-Wake Cycle:

This has resulted in many different industries splitting their workforce into shifts which allows them to operate throughout the day.

There are various types of shifts. The one that employees work in. It typically begins around 8 am, and runs until at 6 at night. Then, we have morning shifts, evening shifts in afternoon, evening shifts as well as graveyard shifts.

People who work shifts frequently require night’s sleep and be awake through the night;

Additionally, it causes impairment in memory and reduces cognitive function and reduces their performance.

Manage Sleep-Wake Cycle patterns


Some people can work at night without issue, while others experience sleep deprivation and fatigue.

Try these steps to keep sleep in check and make the environment more favorable for sleep.


Have something to eat and drink before you go to bed: Pangs of hunger or thirst may wake you up.


Avoid smoking before bed:

Nicotine is a stimulant and therefore cause you to experience difficulties getting to sleep.
Refrain from activities that make you feel more alert: Avoid these until the hours before your next shift.


Prepare your bedroom for Sleep-Wake Cycle::

Make sure your room is quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature. Use earplugs to block out daytime noise and blackout curtains to prevent daylight from entering the room. Electric fans can be useful to keep air circulating and provide neutral background noise.


Communicate your working hours to others:

Notify friends and family of your shifts so that they do not disturb you.
Repaying some of the sleep debt as quickly as possible will help individuals recover sooner.

Control light exposure


Exposure to light triggers chemical events in the circadian pacemaker that affects your sleep and wake cycles. For example, the body releases melatonin as it gets dark in the evening to instigate drowsiness. By morning light, the body suppresses melatonin and elevates cortisolTrusted Source levels to make the body feel more awake.

Artificial light

Furthermore, another studyTrusted Source found that intermittent exposure to bright light is almost as effective as continual exposure.

How do I deal with Sleep disorders during shifts and reduce the health risks associated to it?

Modvigil and Waklert, can surely help you in reducing the sleep disorders during your night shifts and mitigate health risks.

Medicine such as Modalert is frequently used nowadays.

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