ASSEN, Netherlands — More than half of night shift workers suffer from a sleep disorder, according to a new study.
This new research shows that working night shifts can cause the development of sleep disorders, particularly in young adults with a lower education.
Of the participants who work regular night shifts over half reported having one sleep disorder and over a quarter reported having two or more sleep disorders.
“There is a lot of evidence that shift work reduces the quality of sleep,” said Dr. Marike Lancel from GGZ Drenthe’s Mental Health Institute.
“However, little is known about the influence of different types of shifts on the prevalence of various sleep disorders and how this may vary depending on demographic characteristics,” she added.
“We showed that compared to working regular shifts during daytime hours, working other shift types is associated with a higher occurrence of disordered sleep, particularly in rotating and regular night shift work,” she noted.
“Of note, 51 percent of people working nights scored positive for at least one sleep disorder,” she affirmed.
To get their results the team studied data from more than 37,000 participants who all took part in a questionnaire.
This screened them for six common sleep disorder categories: insomnia, hypersomnia, parasomnia, sleep-related breathing disorders, sleep related movement disorders, and circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders.
The responses suggested that working regular night shifts was the most debilitating condition concerning sleep.
Half of the night shift workers reported to sleep less than six hours a day, 51 percent reported one sleep disorder, and 26 percent reported two or more sleep disorders.
The researchers also investigated if other factors, such as sex, age, living situation, and highest level of education impacted sleep health.
These results, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, showed that men slept fewer hours than women but that sleep disorders were more common in women.
Age also influenced sleep health, with older participants sleeping for shorter hours but those aged 30 and below having the most sleep disorders.
Dr. Lancel added: “The effects of shift work on sleep are most prominent in young adults with a lower education.
“Because those working night shift will remain de-synchronized with the day-work focused environment they live in, it is unlikely to completely prevent all negative consequences of night work,” she said.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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