Working Nights

A resource for improving the health and safety of shift workers since 1983

Coffee Update

An influential of panel of experts gathered by the World Health Organization (WHO) have concluded that drinking coffee regularly could protect against two different types of cancer, uterine and liver, although it is not clear why. As recently as 1991, researchers described coffee as ‘possibly carcinogenic’ with links to some cancers. But since then a large body of research has portrayed coffee (for those who drink it regularly) as a surprising elixir, finding lower rates of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, neurological disorders and several cancers.

This is very good news since it is estimated that 64 percent of Americans drink at least one cup of coffee per day. Last year a panel of scientists working on the government’s 2015 dietary guidelines said there was “strong evidence” that three to five cups of coffee daily were not harmful and might reduce chronic disease.

A note of caution…the WHO’s cancer agency has announced that drinking extremely hot (150 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, really too hot to drink) coffee or tea may promote esophageal cancer, so do wait a few minutes before taking that first sip.

So go ahead and enjoy that cup or cups of coffee…..

Posted 3 years ago at 11:21 am.

Add a comment

Are You Sitting Too Much?

In recent years there have been numerous articles written about the physical toll of being sedentary. Excessive sitting is associated with 34 chronic diseases and conditions! Studies show that sitting too much has been linked to cardiovascular events like heart attack, heart disease death, overall death and death from cancer. It has also been associated with high blood pressure, obesity, bad cholesterol and too much belly fat.

Dr. David Alter, the senior scientist of a new study on sitting at the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto said, “More than one-half of an average person’s days is spent being sedentary — sitting, watching television or working at a computer.” Studies have reported that people who sit for long periods were 24 percent more likely to die from health problems during the studies, which lasted between 1 and 16 years, compared to those who sat less.

And now the results of a new study in Australia indicate there is yet one more reason to get up from your chair….in addition to the physical impacts, there is evidence that there is a link between too much sitting and emotional stress; that is the more sedentary a person was, the more likely he or she was to feel anxious. Only nine studies have so far examined this link, so additional research is needed.

However, ultimately, the bottom line is sitting for a long period of time is bad for you, even if you are active and exercise regularly. Knowing this, make a point of getting up every hour or so….grab a drink, walk over to a co-worker’s desk, choose to stand more when you have a choice…it is worth it!

Posted 3 years, 11 months ago at 10:18 am.

Add a comment

Come On….Get up and Stretch or Walk Around a Little Bit

The results of two studies released in January will attack the couch potato tendencies present in many of us! Too much time in front of a TV or computer appears to dramatically increase the risk of heart disease and premature death from any cause, even regardless of how much exercise a person gets. Taking plenty of breaks, even if they are as little as one minute, appear to be good, both for people’s hearts and their waistlines. Read this article…

Posted 8 years, 6 months ago at 6:02 pm.

Add a comment

Employee Health and Shift Work Lifestyle Training Leads to a Happier and Healthier Workforce….and to Increased Company Profits!

Is employee morale low at your company? Employee morale is higher when companies provide shift work lifestyle training.  Nearly 60% of employees at companies providing shift work lifestyle training rank their morale as good or excellent compared 35% without shift work training.[i]

Some shift workers are at a greater risk for cardiovascular disease.  Want to save upwards of $6,500 for each of these at-risk employees per year? And, protect your employees from this number one killer!

Workers in shift work operations generate, on average, more health care costs than other workers.  How about reducing overall company health care costs by 17% to 37% by targeting this population and helping them improve their health?[ii] Other cost savings may also be possible, including safety incident and workers’ compensation costs. Worker productivity may increase, possibly even up by 39%.[iii]

In extended 24-hour operations, a well-designed shift schedule or roster is unlikely to provide adequate protection from worker fatigue.  An integrated risk management system incorporates data analysis and training towards an effort of reducing fatigue and reducing a company’s costs, risks, and liabilities.[iv]

Among the shift worker population, 71% of men and 53% of women are overweight, 54% of workers have smoked or currently smoke, only 27.5% workers report having good nutritional practices, and 77% report not exercising regularly. Add to this the sleep deprivation statistics, 27% of shift workers report making mistakes of inattention several times per month, and it’s clear that both shift workers and their employers would benefit from worker health and lifestyle training.[v]  In addition, a fatigue management program would help target the reasons shift workers aren’t always as attentive and productive as day-time workers and help companies and employees develop some initiatives to reduce employee fatigue levels.

Each of the examples above show the overwhelming benefits to a company and its employees when an employee health and shift work lifestyle training program tailored to the company’s needs is implemented……..It’s all in the details, so read on for more information about targeting a program for your operation….. Read this article…

Posted 9 years, 1 month ago at 2:10 pm.

Add a comment

New Study Makes it Clear; We Need More than Six Hours of Sleep

Shift workers are known to get less sleep than people working regular days.  It’s been studied, written, and talked about for years.  Some people brag about how little sleep they can survive on.  Others complain about their lack of sleep and how tired they feel all the time.  A new study is going to make all of us take a much closer look at our sleeping habits.  It will show us why we need to do all we can to get in the recommended 6 – 8 hours per 24 hour period (we actually recommend 7 – 8).

Researcher from the University of Warwick and the Federico II University Medical School in Naples, Italy, have concluded that people who sleep for less than six hours each night were 12% more likely to die prematurely than those who get the recommended 6-8 hours.  This research offers indisputable evidence of the need for adequate sleep. The researchers also found that long sleepers, those who sleep 9 hours or more regularly, are likely to have other underlying health conditions.

The study included more than 1.3 million participants, followed up for up to 25 years, with more than 100,000 deaths recorded.  The study was published in the May 3rd issue of the journal, Sleep.

For information about working shift work and sleep click on the links below.  Each one will give you or your employees, if you’re a manager, ideas about how to get more sleep while working shift work.

Insomnia and Shift Work

Men and Sleep

Women and Sleep

Restorative Sleep Improves Memory and Creativity

©2010 Circadian Age, Inc.˜Working Nights”

Posted 9 years, 2 months ago at 10:38 am.

Add a comment

WSJ Covers Heart Risk at Work and Seasonal Affective Disorder

There were two articles in the Wall Street Journal today that are significant to shift workers. One story is about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and the other’s about a new study reporting that men who didn’t confront colleagues or bosses who treated them unfairly doubled their risk of heart attack.

Seasonal Affective Disorder: the article states that SAD affects an estimated 6% of Americans, causing depression, lethargy, irritability and a desire to avoid social situations. It can also create an urge to overeat, particularly carbohydrates. As many as 15% of people in the U.S. may have a milder version that includes only some of these symptoms. What the article leaves out, that all shift workers know, is that SAD symptoms are routinely felt by workers at jobs outside the normal day-time hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. See more about this in our articles on Vitamin D and Serotonin.

Reducing Heart Risk with Confrontation: the lead researcher from Stockholm University and her research partners asked 2,755 men how they typically responded to unfair treatment at work. Those who said they just let it pass and said/did nothing had significantly more heart attacks during the next ten years. After adjusting for age, socio-economic factors, risk behaviors, job strain, and biological risk factors, the risk of heart and death from a cardiovascular event was 2.3 times greater than it was for those who said they confronted those treating them unfairly. Read more about how shift workers can manage stress on the job and about controlling bullying at work.

To read the two Wall Street Journal articles:

Seasonal Affective Disorder
Reducing Heart Risk with Confrontation

©2009Circadian Age, Inc.˜Working Nights”

Posted 9 years, 7 months ago at 10:27 am.

Add a comment

Preventing Accidents and Injuries at Work

Besides general health risks, shift workers also face a wide range of faster-acting dangers. Every seven seconds another worker gets injured, and every day, machinery accidents, falls, crashes, and other accidents take lives. Older workers and minority workers face higher injury and fatality rates. Read here the startling facts about on-the-job death and injury, the financial and health costs, the facts of why accidents happen and tips for making work a safer place. Read this article…

Posted 10 years, 5 months ago at 12:08 pm.

Add a comment