With the advent of rapid industrialization, the traditional eight hour working time has changed dramatically and many people are now regularly working in night shifts and shifts with extended hours. These shift work and extended hour refer to non-standard work schedule.
Studies have revealed that shift work and shift with extended hours can have significant adverse effects on health, workplace accident rates, absenteeism and a workers personal life. All this is because these non standard working schedules tend to disturb the working of the internal body clock of the human body that is synchronized for a 24-hour period. Our internal body clock regulates a number of physiological functions of the body which include body temperature, heart rate, hormone secretion, respiration, digestion and mental alertness. Shift workers can face serious health problems because of the disturbance in the internal body clock which in turn is due to the sleep disturbances in their daily.
Researchers have found several negative health effects in shift workers and workers on extended working schedule. These include:
• Increased heart rate
• Gastric ulcer and gastro intestinal problems
• Social problems and minor psychiatric disorders
• Sleep disorders and increased fatigue
• Increased error rates and accident rates
The shift workers can take a number of steps to make their living with shift work more bearable.
Setting up of conditions for their sleep is more important. Their friends, family and their neighbor should understand their shift schedule and help in maintaining a proper, soundless environment for their sleep.
Night shift workers should make exercise as part of their daily routine. However, these exercises should not be vigorous and can simply mean being active in general like having a walk around the neighborhood for half an hour. Shift workers diet is very important and they should maintain a proper three meals per day routine. They should restrict the use of caffeine not only in tea and coffee but also in the soft drinks. Stress seems to be the very common problem among the shift workers and a good home environment can reduce their stress.
Thus with proper precautions and understandings from their kith and kin, a shift workers and avoid all the tensions and hazards associated with the shift workers and lead a proper healthy life.