Studies show that non-day shift workers tend to have lower levels of “feel-good” hormones called serotonin. 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, the shift workers’ serotonin levels, measured through blood tests were significantly lower than those on regular day schedules. In addition to reduced serotonin levels, shift workers were also found to have higher cholesterol, hip-to-waist ratios, increased blood pressure, and higher triglyceride levels.
Because serotonin levels administer sleep patterns and other body functions, the University of Buenos Aires study suggested that shift work may also lead to a so-called Shift Work Sleep Disorder. People with this disorder tend to remain awake when they should be sleeping. These individuals can be very tired during waking hours. This disorder takes place because of a work schedule that takes place during the normal sleep period. Because of this, people who have difficulty getting sleep because their bodies are still programmed to be awake. The time of being asleep and being awake is different from what the body’s internal clock expects.
Other studies also found out that non-standard and night shift work may affect the cardiovascular and metabolic systems. These studies suggest that there is a possibility that shift work is directly responsible for high blood pressure and increased body fat, according the researchers of the Buenos Aires study. In addition to the disruption of sleep patterns, reduced levels of serotonin are also linked to other conditions like stress, anxiety, and depression.
Lifestyle changes can lead to improved serotonin levels. To make serotonin levels consistent, sleep patterns should be consistent and food regimens should include 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. Meditation,Yoga and Breathing techniques can help increase serotonin production.
Tips to Work in Night Shift
- Work in a very Brightly lit room
- Sleep in a very dark room without disturbance
- Hydrate your self well
- Avoid caffeine 3-4hrs before you go to bed
- Change your eating patter based on your working hours
- Avoid junk snacking when you are awake at night.
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