Most modern industries have evolved into providing full-time services to clients. That means there are different sets of employees working day and night shifts. While a day shift is pretty convenient for workers, night shifts can be daunting for many reasons.
For instance, you may be elderly and have a family to care for. Likewise, you might be missing out on social activities or essential services that are not otherwise available except during the daytime.
Simply put, there could be many reasons for night shift workers to want to quit working nights and look for alternative options.
Which Industries Need Night Shift Workers the Most
Most industries in the world need night shift workers. For instance, the medical sector needs a 24-hour service to provide healthcare. So, doctors and nurses are perhaps the most common night shift workers worldwide.
Likewise, the defense industry requires a workforce to patrol borders and manage security in various regions. Pilots, sailors, and security guards are also needed over a 24-hour cycle.
Moreover, the airports and airline services that deal with international flights must be available 24/7 to provide services to different customers at different times. Also, suppose you’re an international business providing products or services for a global audience. In that case, you will need a customer service center that handles queries worldwide.
Due to the time difference, it’s obvious that you would need a set of employees to work the night shift.
Why Night Shifts Have Become So Common
Night shifts are an integral part of businesses because of the way the world has evolved into a global village. Now, businesses prefer going global, so they set up different service centers to address client queries throughout a 24-hour cycle.
So, unless you’re in a business that serves a single location, there is a good chance that you may have to do some night shift work at some point.
The Psychological Impacts of Working on a Night Shift
When you work night shifts, there can be more than just physical health issues at stake. For instance, it’s understandable to feel fatigued or sleep-deprived on a night shift, but more than that, there are many psychological effects connected with night shift work.
Sometimes, these effects are fairly severe and can disturb your daily routine.
Psychological Effects are Quick to Show Up
It is important to understand that the psychological effects of night shift work can often appear before the manifestation of physical effects. Since you’re working odd hours, your body doesn’t necessarily adjust its Circadian rhythms, which can cause sleep disruption and eventually takes its toll on the body.
Likewise, when the body doesn’t adjust to the changes in day and night, it often confuses the brain, forcing it to work abnormally at times. Eventually, it puts the body in survival mode and induces psychological effects such as:
- Sleep-wake problems
Nonorganic Sleep Disorder – A Serious Issue
The sleep-wake disruption caused by night shifts can cause serious psychological problems. In addition, it disrupts your personal life. In this case, it’s best to seek professional help or the services of a therapist to help you fall asleep more easily during the daytime.
Some Good Reasons to Quit Your Night Shift
So, if you’re experiencing any of the above issues, you might want to consider quitting your night shift work. However, it’s understandable if you’re struggling to find the right way to share this problem with your boss.
Therefore, it’s critical to present your reasons for quitting the night shift clearly. If you can present your reasons properly to your manager or boss, there is a chance of being able to change to a day shift. So, here are some of the reasons you can present to your bosses that can at least reduce some of the working hours during the night shift for you.
In this section, we will first discuss the various mental illnesses and other physical health problems that might arise as reasons to quit your night shift. So, here are some important ones to consider.
Your Circadian Rhythm has Been Disrupted
The Circadian rhythm refers to our body’s ability to tell time. It’s an internal 24-hours clock that regulates our sleep cycles, hormone levels, stress, and response to medications.
When you have a perfect circadian rhythm in your body, it helps you operate optimally and positively impacts your physical and mental health.
Working night shifts means that we spend a good part of the daytime sleeping. Hence, our body misses out on valuable sunlight and exposure to vitamin D, which is critical for a properly functioning circadian rhythm.
Hence, it causes disruption in the circadian rhythms, disrupting the body clock and every other operation connected to it. Typically, a circadian rhythm sleep disorder can lead to:
- Hormonal imbalances
One of the daunting side effects of working the night shift is that our eating patterns can change drastically. More importantly, they don’t generally change for the better, but often get worse, causing further gut-related issues.
Irregular eating patterns are a common side effect of working night hours, and this can lead to weight gain. Furthermore, it can lead to diabetes and other health risks too.
Some statistics suggest that nearly 23% of night shift workers become overweight. Hence, they struggle with problems like obesity because junk food and other non-nutritious foods have become a regular part of their diet.
There are also fewer opportunities to find healthy food at night, so fast food becomes a convenient choice for night shift workers.
Since nutritional content directly affects the metabolism and hormone levels in the body, there is a good chance of hormonal imbalances due to the consumption of unhealthy food at night.
Avoiding Shift Work Sleeping Disorders
Shift work sleeping disorders are a common result of night shift work. Working irregular hours disrupts the circadian cycle and can cause many sleep-related problems.
Research suggests that the night shift induces sleep disorders like insomnia, sleepiness, and many similar problems.
So, if you don’t want to develop these conditions, you can mention it to your boss and ask them to reconsider your working hours.
But it’s good to back up your reasons with more insights. So, tell your boss about the possible consequences of lack of sleep, such as:
- Increased chances of car accidents
- Failure to cope with stressful situations which arise at work
- The possibility of having an accident at work
- Chances of indulging in drugs or alcohol to cope with disorders and stress
- Failing to manage social interactions and chances of developing medical conditions.
Lack of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for many of our body’s operations. Sunlight is the most excellent source of vitamin D, but if you’re sleeping during the daytime, you will miss out on most of it. That’s because you have worked hard during the night shift and need enough rest to restore your energy levels and to get back to work in the evening.
Lack of vitamin D can lead to calcium retention problems and cause issues related to bones. Moreover, it can lead to inflammation, immune-related issues and even the growth of certain types of cancer.
To avoid these issues, changing your working hours and getting more sunlight for your body during the daytime is best.
Reducing the Possibility of Getting Cancer
Yes, an irregular sleep pattern can even lead to adverse conditions like cancer. For example, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) discovered that there are higher chances of getting cancer when you work night shifts.
The organization drew a possible correlation between night working hours and the increase in cancer risk. More importantly, there is no single type of cancer that could emerge as a night shift work side effect. Instead, there could be various cancerous conditions like:
- Breast Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Colon Cancer
- Bowel Cancer
Now, it’s possible to cope with mental health problems or weight issues while working a night shift. However, cancer is far more serious and requires due consideration by both workers and management.
Night shift causes more stress, and there is immense research to support this fact. In fact, night shift jobs are one of the leading causes of stress because workers are always facing various mental, physical and social life problems due to night work.
Hence, when a person is under stress, it can dramatically reduce their efficiency and ability to cope with pressure. Night shift workers can easily fail deadlines, lose attentiveness at work, and face mental blockages at work.
This leads to further unhealthy habits like alcohol abuse, overeating, and poor social conduct. In women, it can lead to menstrual problems, and there are several cardiovascular issues that are directly linked to elevated stress levels.
So, if you want to avoid work stress, it’s a good idea to ask your boss if they can change your working hours to the day shift.
Family and Social Life Issues
Having health issues is a direct by-product of night shift work. However, night shift workers also struggle with several family-related issues. Here are some of the important ones.
If you have kids, you will need someone to watch over them while you’re working. This is a significant challenge because hiring babysitters can be quite expensive. And to do that regularly is a serious problem for low-wage workers.
On top of that, being away from home means missing out on some special moments with your kids. When you’re at home, they might be away at school, so it becomes complicated to manage different schedules in the same house.
Family Time Problems
Ideally, most of your family members are at home at night. Therefore, if you’re a night shift worker, you may miss out on many things such as family dinners, late-night sittings, etc.
It can also be tough to spend time with family during the day because your body desperately needs sleep after completing a long night shift.
It means fewer interactions with your family, and you may not know important details of your kid’s school progress and other similar matters. It can also cause you to become inattentive and temperamental and can make you more distant from your family in the long run.
Poor Social Life
Creating a work-life balance is essential for a happy life. However, this can often feel like a luxury in today’s competitive industrial environment. And if you’re unlucky enough to be working a night shift, the problem becomes much worse.
You will most probably miss out on social gatherings, hanging out with friends, and making new connections with other people. That could potentially cause emotional isolation, and you may start losing friends too.
So, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you must have space for social interactions because they make you feel alive and as if life is worth living. Otherwise, your job can lead to frustration and make things worse for you.
Therefore, if you don’t want to lose your special ones and friends and want to maintain the romance in your marriage, it’s a good idea to ask for a change in your working hours.
Your body can feel extremely exhausted as you try to match your schedules with others during weekdays. For instance, you may force yourself to stay awake for your kids during the daytime. Likewise, if you have visitors at home, it may keep you awake for longer than you need to be.
All of this takes its toll on your body, and you will need additional hours of sleep. So, you inevitably make up for that lost time during the weekend. Therefore, any activities and social interactions during the weekend become pointless for you.
Often night shift workers end up absolutely exhausted because of sleep disorders. So hobbies, fun activities, and the other pleasures of life become simply too hard to sustain. As a result, this can induce mood disorders and other related disorders in the body.
Professional Life-Related Reasons to Quit Your Night Shift
Working on the night shift also means you could potentially lose many opportunities for professional growth. Here are some important ones.
Failure to Acquire Professional Training
Whatever your job might be, there is always room for improvement. Hence, different training and certificate courses can help you achieve that.
However, these courses can obviously be better managed when you’re working day shifts. You can recover for a few hours and then attend classes before you hit your bed at night.
But with night shift work, this is almost impossible to achieve. You are likely to spend your days sleeping and may not have any motivation to take new training or courses. As a result, this can severely impair your career advancement.
Therefore, if you don’t want to compromise your professional competence, it’s better to ask your manager for a daytime shift.
Chances of Workplace Injury
As we saw earlier, night shifts can cause problems like inattentiveness and reduced consciousness. This can increase the chances of sustaining workplace injuries too.
When the body forces itself to stay awake, it doesn’t function properly, and night shift workers are often faced with this problem.
As a result, it can affect your mobility and cause injuries or accidents. For instance, if you’re working on a construction site, being attentive is critical. Likewise, working with high-power electrical systems and detail-oriented jobs demands immense focus, which is sometimes hard to achieve during night shifts. Moreover, it can lead to severe accidents.
Therefore, it’s best to ask for a change in shift to help you perform at your peak all the time.
This issue is a serious concern, particularly for women. When you’re working odd hours, traveling to and from your work location can be risky, requiring you to constantly reevaluate your route to work.
Typically, most street crimes occur at night in lonely places. It’s easy to encounter theft or mugging incidents, pickpockets, and several other characters. For women, there could be even greater security concerns.
Likewise, if you don’t have a professional security system at home, it makes your house vulnerable to break-ins and similar threats. In such conditions, working a night shift can be incredibly challenging, and if you are prone to such risks, it’s best to quit the job and look for alternative options.
At nighttime, there are fewer distractions. For instance, you can’t go out to the bank or hang out at a public place with your friends. There is a greater focus on work, and while this is not necessarily a bad thing, there are generally fewer and shorter work breaks during a night shift.
This means that you are at your desk for longer periods in one position. This can create its own problems like back pain, mobility issues, and arthritis.
Moreover, shorter breaks mean less time to relax and refresh. So, it can prove to be quite taxing on your mental health too.
No Support Services
Typically, the support staff isn’t always present during night shifts, and there is a limited workforce in the work area. In such cases, if you need IT support during the night shift, you may have to try and sort things out yourself.
Such problems often cause unwanted disruptions and increase frustration among employees when they have to wait for a long time due to a lack of support staff or services on the office premises.
Night shifts are quite challenging, especially if you have other commitments like family, or friends, or are experiencing health problems.
Hence, if you talk to your boss about the inconveniences like sleep deprivation, blood pressure problems, poor eating habits, and prolonged periods of laziness due to less energy, you may be able to improve your working life by changing your working hours.
To ensure a healthy lifestyle, you should try to reduce your night shift hours. Now you have all the necessary background it should be easier to ask for a change in schedule from your boss.