Hectic Night Shifts – Mr. Crab is waiting

Hectic Night Shifts – Mr. Crab is waiting

You have got one more reason to say no to hectic night shifts or thinking of

swapping job. A research done by University of Washington is pointing light

towards disturbing yet serious facts. The study has found an alarmingly

increased chances of occurrence of breast cancer in women who do night

shifts or getting exposed to lights during night. Breast cancer is only the

beginning and altered hormonal status, colorectal cancer and a plethora of

abnormalities comes along with that.

Why this happens? To answer that question we need to know about

circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm is the normal pattern of the human body

which makes us sleep during night and awake during day. National Sleep

Foundation says that the amount of darkness or light influences human

sleep in a significant manner. There is a highly sophisticated centre in the

human brain called as Supra Chiasmatic Nucleus which regulates the

circadian rhythm of our body. The nucleus keeps the human body alert

during day time by increasing the body temperature and at nigh it releases

melatonin a hormone responsible  for making us sleep.

The catch is the melatonin levels during day and night. It typically

decreases during day time and is rarely seen in human body but when the

sun sets the level increases in our body and peaks for about 12 hours at

night. When the room is well lighted melatonin production is suppressed

and unless the light is dimmed the levels won’t rise.Melatonin is the natural

antioxidant present in the body. It destroys cancerous cells, boosts

immunity and helps in weight loss

Artifical melatonin supplementations are on the rise. Melatonin cannot be

considered as a drug and this hides it from the eyes of FDA. So the dosage

lethal effects all are still to be seen. Lisa Shives, M.D, founder of

Northshore  Sleep Clinic says  “Although the effectiveness of melatonin is

questionable, it is generally considered safe in adults. Common side effects

include morning grogginess, headache, vivid dreaming. “

Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D. Sleep specialist at Mayo Clinic suggest the

following remedies to minimize harmful effects of night shifts on sleep

1.Avoiding stimulants like caffeine or nicotine during bed time.

2.Creating a restful atmosphere– This can be simply done by keeping a

Do Not Disturb sign board in your bedroom.

3. Take a short nap before your shift. Napping for up to 30 minutes just

before work or on a break may increase alertness and enhance your

performance, including quicker reaction time, better memory, less

confusion, and fewer accidents and mistakes

4. Stick to the routine. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time

every day helps promote good sleep. Image

(Image courtesy- Freedigitalphotos.net)

5. Make healthy lifestyle choices. Eat a healthy diet and include physical

activity in your daily routine. If exercise seems to energize you, plan to work

out after you wake up rather than before you go to sleep.

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About Bibin Prasannan

A Post graduate physiotherapist specialized in orthopedics and Hand rehabilitation from manipal. His pass time hobbies includes reading books, cooking, reading Marquez. He is an avid fan of Sudha Murtys writings.
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34 Responses to Hectic Night Shifts – Mr. Crab is waiting

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