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Working the night shift may be bad for you

By Stephen Feller
Working the night shift may be bad for you
An irregular sleep pattern, especially one caused by work, may be contributing to poor health. Photo by Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley/Shutterstock

MADISON, Wis., May 18 (UPI) -- Complaints about inadequate sleep schedules from people who work irregular hours may be worth listening to -- late and overnight shifts could be compromising workers' health.

"Shift work employees are particularly vulnerable to experiencing sleep problems as their jobs require them to work night, flex, extended, or rotating shifts," Marjory Givens, an associate scientist with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, said in a press release. "Shift workers are more commonly men, minorities, and individuals with lower educational attainment and typically work in hospital settings, production, or shipping industries."

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Researchers found a correlation between irregular shifts and metabolic issues, such as obesity and diabetes. The connection is supported by other studies and research.

While the correlation is not completely understood, researchers said the workers who got less than seven hours of sleep on a regular basis, or maintained a consistently irregular sleep schedule, could correct at least some of the issues they face by having a better sleep schedule.

"More research in this area could inform workplace wellness or healthcare provider interventions on the role of sleep in addressing shift worker health disparities," Givens said.

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The study is published in the journal Sleep Health.

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