Night-shift workers on challenges of sleep and health

Posted: August 15th 2022


This story which focuses on health care helps highlight one of the long term challenges facing our sector. It tells us:

Some healthcare workers are stopping night shifts after "constantly fighting" to stay awake and spending days off recovering.

The night workers found they were not eating properly and their sleep patterns were "all over the place" due to their shifts.

A recent study by the University of Warwick found night shifts significantly disrupted sleep quality and circadian rhythms.

BBC News spoke to some about the impact night working had on them.

Jane Pittam, 50, is a paramedic and "didn't know what day it was" on her 12-hour night shifts.

Ms Pittam stopped working nights after 28 years because she "was really struggling".

"It's hard on your body to do nights for so long. It gets harder as you get older," she said.

"The job threshold has tripled and nights are now as busy as days - it's absolutely full on for 12 hours."

Ms Pittam's sleep schedule was "completely all over the place", making her feel awful.

"You were surviving on coffee and your crew mates to keep you awake, almost like you're a zombie," she said.

"I'm glad I'm not doing [night shifts] anymore. I feel so much better now."