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Night Shift Work and Long Hours

Posted by Medical Foods Staff on

According to a study published in the journal of Rehabilitation Nursing, shift work and long hours can shorten lifespan and increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. In this study, 32% of healthcare workers said they got six hours or less of sleep a day. When compared to day shift workers, risks for errors are 15% higher for evening shifts and 28% higher for night shifts. By the third consecutive night shift, risk increased by 17%, and 36% by the fourth consecutive night. 

Night-shift workers are also at a higher risk for developing complex chronic diseases. Data from the Nurses' Health Study found that 11% who worked rotating night shifts for more than six years experienced a shortened lifespan. Those who worked rotating night shifts for six to 14 years had a 19% increase in risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Working rotating night shifts for more than 15 years increased CVD risk by 23%

In a 2011 American Nurses Association survey, one in 10 nurses reported a motor vehicle crash they believed was related to fatigue or shift work.

How Shift Work can Damage the Sleep Cycle 

Working long hours, night shifts and early mornings can disrupt the natural circadian clock that governs the nervous system. Prolonged disruption of the circadian clock can lead to nervous system dysfunction, and an overall degrading of general health which can lead to obesity, heart disease, hypertension and chronic pain syndromes. Re-establishing normal sleep patterns for many shift workers is difficult if not impossible to do. 

According to rheumatologist Dr. David Silver, "poor or lack of sleep is one of the greatest contributing factors to the development of chronic pain syndromes, stress disorders and high blood pressure." Dr. Silver points to the nighttime parasympathetic nervous system as one of the keys to long term health and wellness. He states that "when you sleep, your parasympathetic nervous system takes over and repairs the systems of the body damaged from the previous days events, and if your not sleeping enough then your nervous system is likely not getting a chance to do its job." 

Help is on the Way!

Sentra PM is the only sleep aid on the market today that is clinically proven to enhance nighttime parasympathetic activity and improve restorative sleep. Nurses and other professionals who work long hours have been using this product for over a decade to support their natural sleep cycles and promote their nighttime nervous system health. According to Dr. Silver, "I have recommended Sentra PM for over a decade to my patients struggling with chronic pain syndromes that adversely affect their parasympathetic nervous system function. I see positive clinical results in the majority of my patients taking Sentra PM."