In terms of assessing the health benefits of work-shifts, there is nothing like the traditional nine-to-five schedule, says a new study. Workers with non-traditional schedules are more likely to be overweight, experience sleep-related health problems and metabolic disorders, such as diabetes, as compared to workers following traditional work schedules, according to the findings.
“Shift-work employees are particularly vulnerable to experiencing sleep problems as their jobs require them to work night, flex, extended, or rotating shifts,” explained lead investigator Marjory Givens, associate scientist at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in the US.
The researchers used cross-sectional data from the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin, collected between 2008 and 2012. 1,593 participants were assessed in the analysis, using measures from physical examination to calculate body mass index and determine obesity or overweight status.
Shift-workers were significantly more likely to be overweight than the traditional-schedule workers (47.9 per cent versus 34.7 per cent). They also experienced more sleep problems, such as insomnia, (23.6 per cent versus 16.3 per cent), insufficient sleep (53 per cent versus 42.9 per cent), or excessive wake-time sleepiness (31.8 per cent versus 24.4 per cent).
The study found that those shift-workers, who were not able to get sufficient sleep (seven hours per day), were more vulnerable to metabolic disorders. “This study adds to a growing body of literature calling attention to the metabolic-health burden, commonly experienced by shift-workers, and suggests that obtaining sufficient sleep could lessen this burden,” Givens noted. The study was published in Sleep Health, Journal of the National Sleep Foundation. IANS
Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2015.