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Working during the night can negatively impact your well-being. According to recent research conducted by Dutch scholars, over 50% of individuals engaged in night shifts experience sleep-related issues.

Lack of sleep impacts physical, mental and cognitive functioning

The importance of sleep for overall well-being is well-established, impacting mental, physical, and cognitive functions. However, individuals working night shifts face challenges in maintaining a healthy sleep routine. Researchers at GGZ Drenthe’s Mental Health Institute investigated the relationship between various shift patterns, sleep disorders, and demographic factors.

The recent study conducted by Dr. Marike Lancel at GGZ Drenthe’s Mental Health Institute found that working shifts other than regular daytime hours, such as rotating and regular night shifts, is linked to a higher prevalence of sleep disorders. In fact, 51% of individuals working night shifts tested positive for at least one sleep disorder.

A survey involving 37,000 participants examined demographics and shift work patterns, including morning, evening, night shifts, and alternating shifts. Researchers assessed six sleep disorder categories through a questionnaire, aiming to explore the connection between shift types and sleep disorders. The study analyzed data to understand the impact of non-traditional work schedules on sleep patterns.

Men sleep for less hours than women

The research indicates that frequent night shifts significantly disrupt sleep, with half of night shift workers reporting less than six hours of sleep within 24 hours. About 51% of them face at least one sleep disorder, and 26% deal with two or more.

According to the study males sleep fewer hours than females, and women experience more sleep disorders. Younger individuals, particularly those under 30, are more susceptible to sleep disorders despite sleeping less. Lower education levels are associated with more disrupted sleep due to shift work.

Dr. Lancel explains that due to the de-synchronization between night shift workers and the day-oriented environment they live in, it is unlikely that all negative consequences of night work can be completely prevented.

The findings of the study provide valuable insights for employers in industries with shift work which can help in the development of strategies to reduce the negative impact of irregular work hours on sleep health.