Changing working hours: shift workers have to pay more attention to their health
While other people go to sleep or celebrate, many shift workers have to do their jobs. Those who work shift work are not only lonely more often, they also put a strain on their health. Those affected should therefore pay attention to some tips from experts.
Around every seventh employee works in shifts
As can be seen from the “Data Card 2016” of the Hans Böckler Foundation, which is close to the trade union, 15.8 percent of the workforce in Germany works in a permanent or regular shift and 9.3 percent in night work. Changing working hours due to shift work and night work are not only exhausting, they also pose health risks for many people. Be it sleeping problems, high blood pressure, indigestion or cardiovascular diseases - the list of possible consequences of a life against the so-called "internal clock" is long. But there are some things that can help those affected.
Great strain on health and performance
The human body follows a natural sleep-wake cycle. Daylight has a major impact on digestion, well-being and much more. Shift work can therefore not only be a great burden for relationships and friendships, but also for health and performance.
Scientific studies have shown that night work provokes diabetes and obesity. In addition, shift work affects thinking skills and increases the risk of fatal heart disease, according to a study.
Less disability for younger people
According to experts, people with constantly changing working hours should avoid additional health risks such as smoking, overweight and lack of exercise, because an unhealthy lifestyle is particularly dangerous for them.
In a message from the dpa news agency, experts have interesting information on the topic, including some tips for those affected.
“Not everyone is suitable for shift work. Good physical and mental health is an important prerequisite, ”explained psychology professor Hannes Zacher from the University of Leipzig.
According to the psychologist, younger and healthy people generally experience less impairment from shift work. According to him, other factors can also reduce the negative consequences of shift work. For example, if an employee has experience with irregular working hours and the shift system matches his internal biological clock.
A positive attitude to work and healthy eating and sleeping behavior are important, says Zacher.
Body can only adapt to a limited extent
The body can only adapt to the constantly changing working hours to a limited extent. “Practically all bodily functions are subject to a daily change. Light is an important factor here, ”said Ricarda Holtorf of the German Nutrition Society (DGE). It is therefore important to eat a balanced diet even when working shifts.
Employees who work shift work should avoid sweet or salty snacks. Instead, Holtorf advises yogurt with fresh fruit, whole grain bread with cream cheese and strips of pepper. The right drinks are also important: "Grab hot and cold drinks without caffeine, such as drinking or mineral water, fruit, herbal or red bush tea."
Good planning is important
People who work when others are asleep do not have an easy time with friends and family, they face loneliness. As the psychologist Hannes Zacher explained in the dpa report, good planning is very important for her.
“Use the time with your partner, children and friends sensibly instead of just watching TV. Set up a schedule and plan long-term activities and spontaneous activities, ”said the expert. Active participation in social life can reduce the risk of impairments due to shift work. (ad)