Working Nights

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

Feeling Stressed?

Feeling stressed? Don’t let it get the best of you! Here are some tips from WEBMD for some quick stress relief:

Chew gum

Get outside


Sniff lavender

Listen to music

Focus on breathing

Be kind to yourself

Jot down your thoughts and feelings

Talk to a friend

Get moving

Posted 11 months ago at 2:43 pm.

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New CDC Sleep Study


At Working Nights we often discuss the importance of sleep and the obstacles shift workers face in trying to get enough of it. Lack of sleep is not only a major issue for shift workers but for many adults (and unfortunately, a growing number of children) in the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that, according to a new sleep study, more than one third of adults in America are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. This study is the first to document estimates of self-reported healthy sleep duration (identified as 7 hours or more) in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

To learn more about the study and about some steps you can take to increase the quantity and quality of your sleep, go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Posted 2 years, 2 months ago at 9:46 am.

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Sleep…the Key to Staying Healthy This Winter!

Sleep is a subject being studied by researchers more than ever as they continue to learn how it impacts every part of our mental, physical and emotional lives. Working Nights discusses it often since shift workers, due to their unique hours and the disruption of their circadian rhythms, get less sleep than the day working population.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) call insufficient sleep a public health epidemic. The National Sleep Foundation reported in their 2013 survey that one in five Americans get less than six hours of sleep on an average work night.

As we approach winter and cold and flu season, we need to try even harder to get more undisturbed quality sleep (we are turning the clocks back this Sunday, November 1st, so there is an extra hour!). Working Nights looked at the results of a new UC San Francisco study on the relationship between shortened sleep and catching a cold or virus. Those results show  that those who slept less than six hours a night were 4.2 times more likely to catch a cold; the odds increased for those who slept even less!

Learn more about the study and its results at (e)Science News.

Posted 2 years, 5 months ago at 3:38 pm.

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The Impact of Daylight Saving Time

How are you feeling this week….even more tired than usual?  That may be due to Daylight Saving Time which occurred this past weekend. As we move the clocks forward, we lose an hour of that so very essential and precious sleep. On March 9 the Wall Street Journal published an article examining the side effects and repercussions of that lost hour (that loss has an even greater impact on shift workers!). To learn more, go to the Wall Street Journal……


Posted 3 years, 1 month ago at 11:39 am.

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Is a seaweed flake the new potato chip?

This is the question asked in a recent article published in the Wall Street Journal. More people are snacking than ever before while, at the same time, more people want to eat better. Is it possible to munch on snack foods and be healthy? Many companies are hoping it is; they are creating new snacks by removing trans and saturated fats and artificial and synthetic ingredients, and incorporating ingredients like seaweed, black beans and brown rice.

Of course, this is good news for all of us, especially for shift workers who usually snack often over the course of their work shift. However, these healthier snacks do not come with an ˜all-you-can-eat” tag. Many have the same calories and sodium content as other snack foods, as well as a limited serving size. To learn more about these new snacks and how they can fit into your diet, read the article in the Wall Street Journal.

Posted 4 years, 6 months ago at 11:16 am.

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Fun in the Sun

Ahhh ……the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer….. blue skies, hot sun! As we spend more time outside playing, exercising and working we must keep in mind how dangerous the heat can be if precautions are not taken.

Dehydration and heat exhaustion are two conditions that can occur in hot weather, often without us even realizing it. When dehydrated, our body is not able to produce enough sweat which is needed to reduce our internal body temperature and move the heat out. If sweat is not being made, our body’s core temperature rises which could result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke-two very serious conditions. Symptoms of dehydration may be dizziness, dry mouth, decreased sweating and dark urine.

Once our body is overheated, heat exhaustion can happen. We could experience fatigue, nausea, headache, vomiting and cold clammy skin with excessive sweating. If left untreated, this could lead to heat stroke which is considered to be a life threatening condition.

The good news is that these conditions can be prevented and we can enjoy being outside! Here are some guidelines to follow to ensure healthy and safe outdoor living:

  • Stay hydrated; drink every 20-30 minutes. If working or exercising excessively, try sports drinks.
  • Use sunscreen.
  • If possible, avoid the middle part of the day when the sun is the strongest.
  • Dress appropriately in light weight and light colored clothes; also, wear a hat.


Posted 4 years, 8 months ago at 1:20 pm.

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Family History and Your Heart

Coronary heart disease is the result of plaque buildup in the arteries, which blocks blood flow and heightens the risk for heart attack and stroke. It accounts for 1 in 6 deaths in the United States.
Currently, the Framingham Risk Score is the most widely used method for measuring heart risk. It takes into account general information, such as blood pressure, cholesterol level and basic knowledge about whether a family member had a history of heart disease. Based on the results, a decision is made as to who may be at high risk.
However, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal reports that a new study shows that detailed family information could help doctors better predict who is at high risk for heart disease. Dr. Donna Arnett, a genetic epidemiologist and president-elect of the American Heart Association, says that, “Family history remains one of the most important predictors of an event for an individual. But most of the family history that we’re collecting is just the presence or the absence of heart disease, not the age of onset or the type of disease.”
Another risk-measurement tool, the Reynolds Risk Score, does consider if a patient’s parent had a heart attack and at what age. This tool has been available since 2007 but is not yet widely used. Gathering the additional information does take more time and often, the patient is not aware of his family health history.
So the next time you are at a family gathering, ask some questions about the health histories of your parents, grandparents and siblings. Find out if they had heart disease, a heart attack and at what age. The more information you have, the easier it will be for your doctor to make a diagnosis. It could save your life!

Posted 6 years, 1 month ago at 8:38 am.

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Is Time Alone Good for You?

Our contact with shift workers indicates that they tend to spend a lot of time alone. The schedules shift workers are on are often not conducive to a lot of togetherness with family and friends. We often write about the need for shift workers to stay in touch and find time for recreation with others. Recently there have been several studies about the importance of time spent alone. Solitude has been linked with creativity, spirituality, and intellectual insight for decades. Now studies are showing that we remember things better when we are alone. Taking time for self-reflection is a good thing; being surrounded by others can hamper a person’s efforts to figure out what he or she really thinks of something. Perhaps shift workers’ time alone allows them time to know themselves more truly than other do.
Read this article…

Posted 7 years, 1 month ago at 12:26 pm.

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Shift Workers Save Each Other “ The Chilean Rescue Tale”

All around the world people are celebrating the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for ten long weeks. And, at Working Nights we’re celebrating too! Like everyone else, we’re ecstatic that the trapped miners were brought to safety. But we’re also celebrating from a shift worker perspective! This is a story about the good that happens when shift workers join together to help other shift workers. This tale is a collaboration of shift workers “ from all walks of life“ miners, government workers from multiple countries, small business men from the U.S. and Chile, and others.

In this case, employees from Layne Christianson Co., whose largest business is drilling water wells, and Geotec Boyles, SA, Lane Christianson’s partner in Chile, worked round-the-clock for 33 days to save the trapped miners. The miners were buried nearly 2,300 feet underground after a cave-in. The Layne/Geotec workers drilled a 2,300-foot tunnel that was 28 inches in diameter; it was large enough for the 26-inch rescue capsule to fit through. Others were working 24/7 as well. NASA designers worked with the Chilean Navy to design the 13 foot long, 925 pound rescue capsule which the Chileans named Phoenix.

Achieving success took whole-hearted co-operation among all parties involved, starting with the miners themselves. These 33 men lived on rations normally meant to sustain them for no more than two or three days. Under the extraordinary leadership of their foreman, the men shared what little they had. They shared the conviction that each man’s survival depended on all of the others down there surviving too. The miners’ only contact with the outside world was through tiny drill holes used to send down food, water, medicine and games.

Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, and mining workers have historically worked long hours in difficult conditions. But 33 days straight takes the cake! Hopefully all shift workers that participated in this rescue, and all people working shift work will celebrate this great accomplishment.

©Circadian Age, Inc. ˜Working Nights”

Posted 7 years, 6 months ago at 1:49 pm.

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2010 Sleep in America Poll Released!

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) has just released the 1st poll to examine sleep among four ethnic groups in the United States: Asians, Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics and Whites-the 2010 Sleep in America Poll. Although significant differences in the sleep habits and attitudes of each group are revealed, there are also a number of interesting similarities. The poll found that more than three fourths of respondents from each ethnic group agree that poor sleep is associated with health problems. It also showed that each group reports similar experiences missing work or family functions because of fatigue. This is of extreme significance to shift workers who routinely average less sleep than day workers.

The NSF is committed to understanding people’s sleep needs and giving them the tools necessary to get the optimum amount of rest. Read more about the poll and its findings at the NSF’s website…

Posted 8 years, 1 month ago at 11:09 am.

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Teach Children about Working Nights and Learn Something New Yourself Too!

Just Released — Children’s Book from Working Nights!

Why Does my Mom or Dad Sleep all Day – When Parents Work Shift Work

Click here to order! Only $12.95

Help children understand the differences that exist in families when parents work extended hours.  Topics covered include why it’s important to get enough sleep, eating balanced meals, and carving out time for fun and recreation, including family time.

This is a great book for parents or grandparents to purchase for the  children in their lives  It’s also good for schools and libraries! Modelled after the Working Nights Calendar, the book includes eye-catching illustrations and easy to understand text aimed at 4 to 8-year-olds.  Questions designed to engage children in a meaningful discussion about how their lives and others are impacted when parents work shift work are included at the end.

Soft cover, 25 pages, easy to read 8.5″ x 11″ size. $12.95.  To order click here.

Posted 8 years, 3 months ago at 6:17 pm.

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This Emotional Life – Following up on “Stumbling on Happiness”

Daniel Gilbert, professor at Harvard and best selling author of “Stumbling on Happiness,” hosts this PBS show, This Emotional Life, starting Monday, January 4th.  The show will explore ways to improve social relationships, cope with emotional issues, and become more positive and resilient as individuals.

Many people from all walks of life are profiled, including every day moms, dads, and workers, and famous people like Katie Couric and Richard Gere.  If you have to work when the show is aired, you can  either tape it at home, or purchase the series at

In Stumbling on Happiness, Gilbert shares with us facts about the way our mind works.  Gilbert, a Harvard University Psychology professor, is particularily interested in the shortcomings of our imaginations.  He says we’re much too accepting of the conclusions of our imaginations.  He notes that our imaginations are really bad at telling us how we will think when the future finally comes. And our personal experiences aren’t nearly as good at correcting these errors as we thing they are.

Watch the TV preview right here!



Dan Shapiro PBS Trailer

Posted 8 years, 3 months ago at 3:15 pm.

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Happy Thanksgiving from Working Nights – an Idea for Getting Through Dinner!

Holiday dinners with family can be easily ruined. A political debate might erupt at the table over health care reform, Obama’s job rating, or how people feel about Sarah Palin. Perhaps a new husband or wife isn’t liked, so half the table ignores them while the other goes overboard to make them feel comfortable. Some people actually have the nerve to state that they don’t like the food, right in front of the chef. Maybe someone has dietary issues so the ingredients of every dish have to be reviewed before they take a bite. How about the nurse or firefighter who worked the entire night before and can’t stay awake at the table or has a short fuse as a result of being tired? There might be sadness over a recent death or heartbreak from missing someone who’s overseas with the military. What about those screaming kids banging their silverware on the crystal stemware or china plates? Sometimes you wish you’d stayed home.

Here’s a new holiday dinner sanity idea.
Read this article…

Posted 8 years, 5 months ago at 11:32 am.

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Shift Work and Divorce – Does the Work Schedule Really Make a Difference?

Divorce.  It’s not a fun topic for anyone.

By now most of us have read that we’re better off if we’re married.  According to the Center for Disease Control, married people tend to have lower mortality rates, exhibit less risky behavior, are more likely to monitor their health, comply with necessary medical routines, have sex more often and experience more satisfaction with their sexual lives, save more and earn more.  On a national level, the Census Bureau reports that a shrinking share of Americans are married, only 52% of males and 48% of females were married in 2008. The proportion of Americans who are currently married has been decreasing for decades and is lower than it has been in at least half a century.  The median duration of a marriage in 2008 was 18 years. In 2008, 9% of men were divorced and 12% of women were.

So why don’t we stick with our marriages?  And, is it true that maintaining a marriage is more difficult for shift workers?

Read this article…

Posted 8 years, 5 months ago at 8:27 pm.

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