Back in college, I had a brief spell as a night watchman. I wasn’t on patrol, rather, I was supposed to stay by the desk phone inside. From time to time, however, I would wander outside and gaze at the stars. Might even croon a tune to some local sweetie.
That was in the days when I was able to work at night and stay awake during the day.
I few years later, I tried staying awake for several days at a time during a stint as a marathon DJ. That little effort made me sick.
Every once in a while, I hear a news item about how interrupting normal sleep habits can have a very negative effect on the body – and especially, the mind. Something about disrupting the “Circadian rhythm.” Circadian rhythms “are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment. They are found in most living things, including animals, plants and many tiny microbes. The study of circadian rhythms is called chronobiology. . . . Circadian rhythms can influence sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, body temperature and other important bodily functions. They have been linked to various sleep disorders, such as insomnia. Abnormal circadian rhythms have also been associated with obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder.” (National Institute of General Medical Sciences)
Just this week, yet another study confirms that working at night and trying to function normally during the day, CAN have detrimental; effects.
The study was put together in Wales, by scientists from France, Sweden, and Monaco. It was called the “VISAT longitudinal study.”
It went something like this –
Research shows long term shift work linked to impaired brain power
Long term shift work could be linked to impaired brain power, according to a study carried out by scientists from Swansea University and other renowned European Universities.
Shift work, like chronic jet lag, is known to disrupt the body’s internal clock and it has been linked to a range of health problems, such as ulcers, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and some cancers.
The study published in ‘Occupational & Environmental Medicine’ suggest that the impact seems to be most noticeable over a period of 10 or more years, and although the effects can be reversed, this may take at least five years. “The study shows the long term effects of shift work on the body clock are not only harmful to workers’ physical health, but also affect their mental abilities. Such cognitive impairments may have consequences for the safety of shift workers and the society that they serve, as well as for shift workers’ quality of life.”