Cremations are one of the cremation services offered in Chesterfield Township, MI after someone dies, but some people have lifestyle factors that put them at a greater risk of dying at a younger age than their peers. One of those lifestyle factors is having a career that requires you to work at night instead of during the day.
Are you aware that people aren’t biologically designed to work at night? The body has its own timeclock. Each of us operates on a similar timeclock, which is known as our circadian rhythm. Our natural circadian rhythm corresponds to light and hormones.
At about the same time that the sun rises in the lower 48 states of America, our bodies produce a hormone that wakes us up and makes us alert. Similarly, about the time the sun begins to set in the lower 48 states, our bodies produce a hormone that starts winding us down and making a sleepy by the time it is fully dark outside.
Before the Industrial Revolution, which began in the late 19th century, just about everybody worked in conjunction with the natural circadian rhythm. In a society that was centered around agriculture, people got up when the sun came out and they went to bed when the moon came out.
With the Industrial Revolution, American society move away from agriculture and toward manufacturing. Large companies replaced home-centered farms and cottage industries, and with large investments funding manufacturing operations, American business became focused on profits.
With the development of incandescent lighting, the titans of the Industrial Revolution realized that they were not limited to just working during daylight hours. This meant that companies their profits because their employees could work 24 hours a day.
It was at this point that the idea of a first, second, and third shift was developed. The first and second shifts, which were eight-hour shifts, fell within the body’s natural circadian rhythms (although, after 9 pm, an increase in accidents was more evident).
However, the third shift, also known as the graveyard shift, fell outside of the body’s normal wake/sleep pattern. Therefore, workers on this shift consistently had more accidents on the job, more serious and fatal accidents at work, and more serious and fatal accidents on their way home after their shift.
Today, more professionals, such as medical personnel and information technology specialists, also find themselves working a night shift (usually 12 hours instead of eight hours), and, like their manufacturing counterparts, are having a higher rate of accidents, serious injuries, and fatalities both on the job and in traveling home from the job.
The higher rate of accidents is directly attributable to sleep. People who work the night shift have to try to sleep during the day when the body naturally wants to be awake. Likewise, they have to stay awake at night, when the body naturally wants to go to sleep. Sleep deprivation is common, and it not only causes accidents, but it can also be damaging to health.
A recent 22-year study of almost 75,000 nurses showed dramatic health effects for nurses who worked rotating shifts (the worst kind of work schedule for the body) for long periods of time.
Nurses who worked on rotating shifts for more than five years, for example, had an 11% higher early death rate than nurses who had never worked on the shifts. Nurses with more than 15 years on rotating shifts or 38% more likely to die from heart disease than nurses who worked day only shifts.