Problems With Night Shift Employees

Working a night shift can create a host of problems for employees, ranging from social isolation to disruptive sleep patterns that negatively impact an employee's emotional and physical well-being. Maintaining regular sleep, exercise and healthy eating patterns and altering non-sleeping hours to make the most of home, family and social lives can help alleviate some, but not all night shift issues. Medical reasons to not work nights include elevated risk of chronic health conditions such as coronary heart disease.

Sleep Induced Mistakes

Sleeping during the daylight hours and working during the night shift is unnatural to the body’s circadian rhythms. Night shift workers may have difficulty getting appropriate REM sleep and can experience drowsiness during the work shift. The Sleep Foundation reports that shift workers are at higher risk for making mistakes on the job and getting into accidents either at work or when driving home. Problems like sleep apnea can also be exacerbated by night shift sleep schedules.

Health Problems

Night shift work is associated with a variety of health maladies, including ulcers, cancer, cardiovascular problems and obesity, according to EMS1. Night shift workers also have an increased incidence of high blood pressure, gastrointestinal problems and depression. Night shift workers who maintain regular sleep schedules and doze in a dark, quiet environment are less likely to experience traditional shift work problems. Avoidance of caffeine and other stimulants can also help reduce night shift issues.

Work-Life Balance

People who work the night shift and sleep during the day can disrupt their work-life balance. They may miss the opportunity to share meals with family, engage in recreational activities, attend birthday parties or spend daily quality time together. This can lead to a sense of isolation and sadness. Workers who attempt to hold more traditional hours on off days to spend time with family or friends run the risk of throwing off sleep patterns, making it more difficult to get back into the swing of things when the work week begins again.

Workplace Disconnection

Even if a shift manager supervises the night shift, shift workers may not feel connected with colleagues in the organization simply because the night shift is often staffed with fewer people than the day shift. Employees who want to access human resources or speak with someone in upper management may find these departments hold traditional business hours. This means if they want to interact with others in the company or attend staff meetings, they may be forced to give up sleep hours to do so.