How Night Shifts Perpetuate Health Inequality – Methods for approaching them as safely as possible

Source: James Hamblin, The Atlantic, October 20, 2016

….Night shifts are a health hazard in either case, but for different reasons.

Would it be better not to keep throwing your body back and forth from diurnal to nocturnal? Cleveland Clinic, for one, tells patients both to “avoid frequently rotating shifts,” and also to “decrease the number of night shifts worked in a row.”

What? That’s scary if you have to work nights. Newly discovered health risks of working night shifts keep coming out: higher risks of coronary artery disease, diabetes, weight gain, and some cancers. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has listed night shifts as “probably carcinogenic.” Among people who’ve worked a decade of shift work, their brains show cognitive decline years in advance.

But these findings are almost always in people who do shift work—bouncing back and forth between nights and days. There’s even something called Shift Work Sleep Disorder (or Shift Work Disorder), defined by increased accidents, work-related errors, irritability, or mood problems…..