Study: How Shift Work Related Sleep Deprivation and Stress Affect Your Health



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The advent of modern technology, globally evolving businesses and the unstoppable desire to get and stay ahead is the characteristics of 21st century. The economy is active 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The competence among business corporates create a demand for employees that would work even during the night and need to stay active upto the wee hours of the morning. Employee lifestyle is adversely effected or even reversed by this work schedule, making them sleepy during the day.

Shifts may disrupt the normal body functions and hamper sleep cycles. Studies show that people who work in night shifts tend to have lower levels of serotonin which is known as the feel good hormone

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is found in the central nervous system and impacts multiple functions like mood, sleep, and appetite. This neurotransmitter may also promote cell regeneration.

Studies Related To Shift Work, Serotonin Levels and Health

Your serotonin levels have certain control over your sleep patterns and other body functions. Researchers at the University of Buenos Aires led by Dr. Carlos J, Pirola studied 683 men and compared 437 day workers to 246 shift workers. The results of blood tests showed significantly lower levels of serotonin in shift workers than those on regular day schedules. Besides this lower level of serotonin, shift workers were also found to have increased blood pressure and a higher cholesterol, triglyceride levels and hip-to-waste ratios.

Other studies also indicates the adverse effect of night shift work on  cardiovascular and metabolic systems and may directly responsible for high blood pressure and increased body fat, In addition to the disrupted of sleep patterns, low serotonin levels are also linked to other conditions like stress, anxiety, and depression.

Shift Work Sleep Disorder

According to the studies, shift work may lead to a so-called Shift Work Sleep Disorder and people with this disorder, tend to remain awake when they should be sleeping.

A work schedule that takes place during the normal sleep period causes this disorder and individuals having this disorder can be very tired during waking hours. They will experience difficulty getting sleep because their bodies are still programmed to be awake.. For them, the time of being asleep and being awake is different from what the body’s internal clock expects.


Lifestyle Changes Can Improve Serotonin Levels

Lifestyle changes can improve serotonin levels [study]. To make serotonin levels consistent, sleep patterns should be consistent and should have a food regimen that include the necessary vitamins and minerals to control the serotonin levels. 

Certain drugs and substances like caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and antidepressants should be avoided because they may deplete serotonin production.

People who works at night should take adequate rest to reduce the ill-effects that may develop. Studies show that healthy lifestyles and nutritious diet may improve serotonin levels, sleep patterns and one’s overall quality of life.



Linking What We Eat to Our Mood: A Review of Diet, Dietary Antioxidants, and Depression     Qingyi Huang,1,2,3 Huan Liu,1,2 Katsuhiko Suzuki,4 Sihui Ma,3,* and Chunhong Liu1,2,*

Exercise for Mental Health   Ashish Sharma, M.D.,1 Vishal Madaan, M.D.,2 and Frederick D. Petty, M.D., Ph.D.3

Shift work and its effects on the cardiovascular system   Thabo Mosendane, MB ChB  Thabo Mosendane, Reproductive Health and HIV Research Unit, Johannesburg;  Tshinakaho Mosendane, BA Anthro (Hons), HD Tshinakaho Mosendane, Reproductive Health and HIV Research Unit, Johannesburg; Frederick J Raal, Frederick J Raal, FRCP, FRCPC, FCP (SA), MMed (Int Med), PhD Frederick J Raal, 


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