Working At Night: Is It Harmful Or Not?

Working At Night: Is It Harmful Or Not?
Working At Night: Is It Harmful Or Not?

Video: Working At Night: Is It Harmful Or Not?

Video: Ask Jim: Is It Better to Work Only Night Shifts, or Bounce Back and Forth? 2022, November

Maria Anikanova, neurologist, top LJ blogger

"Working at night is harmful," say modern scientists. But many people in their 20s and 40s don't care about scientific research because they are tempted by the benefits of freelancing. Just think: do not get up early in the morning, do not push around in public transport, do not see the boss's displeased face every day. The need to work at night does not seem to be too high a price for the little personal happiness of an introvert.

And you will almost certainly have to work at night. Firstly, children and everyday life take their attention during the day. Secondly, it is better to work at night, because it is quiet and no one distracts. Thirdly, the volume of tasks is often such that you have to sit at a laptop almost day and night.

The effect of night work on the nervous system is often underestimated. Well, there is a craving for sweets, well, eternal irritability haunts loved ones, just think. In fact, regular night vigils at the computer affect health more than is commonly believed.

Chronic sleep deprivation

Working at night often means getting enough sleep on a regular basis. The average sleep rate per day is 7.5-8 hours, and this time, ideally, should coincide with the peak of melatonin production. That is, it would be desirable to doze off by 23:00, and wake up not earlier than 6: 00–7: 00.

In fact, it turns out that several hours of night work smoothly turn into the day shift, when there is a need to take children to kindergarten or school, go to the store, and do some current business. That is why there is no doubt: even if a person works at night for only a few hours, he is probably in a state of chronic deprivation, that is, deprivation, sleep.

Impaired melatonin production

Melatonin is a sleep hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. As it turned out, it indirectly affects other processes in the body. These are immunity, cyclic production of sex hormones, thyroid hormones and growth hormone - somatotropin, regulation of blood pressure and maintenance of normal mood, as well as the ability to assimilate new information and experience.

Working at night very quickly confuses the body's biological clock, which disrupts the production of melatonin. Further, there is a mismatch of daily rhythms, and now health begins to imperceptibly, gradually and steadily pouring in.

Hormonal disorders

Studies have shown that insulin, a hormone that regulates the uptake of glucose by cells, is released into the bloodstream not only when food enters the stomach. It is also released independently of food, in accordance with the work of the biological clock, which is controlled by melatonin. The least amount of insulin in the blood is determined in the early morning hours.

Another important hormone is somatotropin, without which the growth of muscle mass in adults and the growth of all organs and systems in children are impossible. It is produced primarily during deep night sleep. Therefore, the desire of athletes obsessed with bodybuilding to rest their obligatory eight hours in their own bed, so that nothing can affect the structure of sleep, has a scientific basis.

How can work at night be harmful to the body?

Increased blood pressure. Normally, before bedtime, a person activates the parasympathetic nervous system - it is responsible for good rest, absorption of nutrients, restoration and construction of cells and tissues. If a person gets used to working at night, this order is violated, there is a simultaneous activation of the opposing sides of the autonomic nervous system.The result is jumps in blood pressure, the absence of a physiological decrease in its numbers at night and an increase in the risk of "vascular catastrophes" - strokes and heart attacks. Japanese researchers have shown that working night shifts contributes to the development of hypertension in people who have not previously complained of increased blood pressure, and in hypertensive patients it maintains high blood pressure numbers. Belgian scientists continued this topic and found that regular deprivation of adequate nighttime sleep leads to an increase in the level of "bad" blood lipids. Thus, hypertensive patients risk their health and life doubly.

Insomnia. It would seem that sleep disturbance is the lesser of evils that can happen to an utterly tired person if his biological clock is “broken”. However, this is not the case: insomnia disrupts the balance of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain, which leads to the development of depression and anxiety disorders. Also, people with sleep disorders have decreased attention. This means that the risk of accidents increases - domestic injuries, car accidents.

Obesity. An increase in waist circumference, an increase in blood cholesterol levels, a violation of the normal uptake of glucose by cells - such unpleasant consequences of sleepless nights have been clarified in observational studies in several countries at once. Similar results were shown by a later meta-analysis, which included 45 studies (and this can confidently be considered information with a high level of evidence): it turned out that people who sleep less than 7.5 hours a day have a serious risk of becoming obese in a few years. … Those who work at night get fat. And this is not the fault of the "night priestess" syndrome, which is associated exclusively with the proximity of the refrigerator and the alluring silence, as if calling for immediate and unnoticed gluttony. Everything is much more complicated: the normal regulation of appetite is disrupted due to changes in melatonin production and related changes. The daily cycle of insulin production fails, the feeling of satiety decreases due to a lack of leptin, and the desire to eat a whole elephant increases due to an increase in ghrelin levels. As a result, cravings for sugary and fatty foods increase, as does appetite in general. In addition, there are changes in temperature regulation, energy consumption and consumption, which leads to disturbances in the energy balance. Therefore, it is highly likely that simply "counting calories to lose weight" if you work at night will not work. Calories can be counted as much as you like, but agreeing with your own suprachiasmatic nuclei in the brain, which are completely incomprehensible of what is happening, will not work out so easily: the nervous system has a very strong "protection from the fool", so clumsy biohacking in the style of "I'll sleep sometime later "Is doomed to failure.

Diabetes. Another bad news for lovers of night work: a "broken" biological clock can cause diabetes. It all starts with an increase in blood sugar - it is poorly absorbed by cells at night. Studies have found the following connection: among those who prefer to work at night, the reading of clock genes increased, which led first to impaired glucose tolerance (prediabetes), and then to diabetes mellitus. Why the body considers it necessary to turn carbohydrate metabolism upside down with a lack of sleep at night remains unclear. However, the relationship between lack of adequate sleep and increased blood sugar has been well established.

Increased risk of cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer considers work at night as one of the most likely carcinogenic factors.It is assumed that melatonin is not only a natural "sleeping pill", but also a natural antioxidant, and also plays the role of an inhibitor for uncontrolled cell growth, so characteristic of cancerous tumors. A link between long hours of work at night and cancer has been shown for breast cancer, uterine fibroids. Perhaps the reason for these ailments lies in a decrease in the level of estrogens, which are also natural defenders of women's health from certain types of cancer, and at the same time from cardiovascular diseases.

“Just think, I'll sleep during the day,” - this belief became the reason for the deterioration of health for a huge number of young and once healthy people. Sometimes they go to doctors for years, hiding the main information for a specialist - the banal fact of regular lack of sleep. Ragged sleep, lack of adequate rest at night and attempts to get what is missing at the expense of daytime hours sometimes become a necessary measure. But even then, full-fledged sleep should be considered a priority and build your life around it, let the income be less, let the career growth not be so rapid, let the children get not three hours a day of playing games with their mother, but only one (plus a short bedtime story).

Night work makes a person grow old, sick and unhappy. This seems to be reason enough to reconsider your attitude towards morning traffic jams and the need to postpone important work tasks until late in the evening.

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