07/28/2003

Improving the Lives of Shift Workers

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety informs about shift work
effects and coping strategies.

Shift work is a particular concern because of the human circadian rhythm, our
internal clock that uses clues like time of day to adjust blood pressure,
activity level and body temperature. Shift work can

- Impact energy levels through sleep deprivation

- Cause disorders of the gastrointestinal and cardiovascular systems

- Make existing disorders worse.

Optimizing shift schedules is the most effective way of reducing health and
safety problems. It is a complicated balancing act to find the best compromise
for personal, psychological, social and medical concerns. Science has yet to
determine the best timing for shift rotations. One study, however, did find
that changing rotating shifts to a forward direction (days to afternoons to
nights) significantly decreased the levels of several coronary risk factors in
one study.

Shift workers can also take matters into their own hands. Among the
suggestions:

- Maintain regular eating patterns as much as possible.

- Sleep on a set schedule to help establish a routine and to make sleep during the day easier.

- Take leisure seriously

Further information


AplusA-online.de - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety