Working the night shift could have similar effects on the body as chronic jet lag, a new study by researchers has shown.
Workers who worked night shifts were shown to have poorer memory compared with people who work during the day, according to a study published online in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine.
Both poor memory and other cognitive impairments were evident in people who worked night shifts for a decade. Researchers analyzed yearly medical assessments over a decade from more than 3,200 employed and retired workers in regions of southern France.
The researchers found that the effects that shift work had on the cognition of some of the participants were the same as nearly six years of the normal cognitive decline that occurs due to ageing.
Much like chronic jet lag, night shifts can disrupt the body’s ‘internal clock’ and can lead to sleep deprivation due to the workers having difficulty sleeping appropriately during the daytime.
The researchers also suggest that these effects may not be seen until at least 10 years of night shift work and the effects could also be reversed.
Sleep disorders are treated by sleep medicine specialists and can include circadian rhythm disorders such as frequent jet lag and shift work change which can be the cause of chronic changes in sleep patterns. They also help to diagnose and treat both mild and serious cases of insomnia, narcolepsy and obstructive sleep apnea and sleep-related problems such as excessive snoring.