Recent research undertaken in the UK has suggested working night shifts plays havoc with many of the body’s genes.
Scientists disrupted the normal sleep-wake cycle of 22 volunteers until they were sleeping in the middle of the day. They then tested the activity of genes in blood samples taken from the participants.
The research showed a six-fold reduction in the number of active genes working to a 24-hour “circadian rhythm” cycle. These included many linked to the regulation of biological processes, indicating that shiftwork or jet lag may have far-reaching physiological and health effects.
- What effect do shift patterns have on your health?
- What advice would you give to students working their first night shift?
- Could any changes be made to shift patterns to improve staff health and wellbeing?
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