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LA Times: “Sleep deprived pay the price for shift work”

March 24, 2008

Trying to outsmart our circadian rhythms may have grim health results: obesity, cancer, mental illness and gastrointestinal problems.

Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times staff writer, reports on the potential dangers facing those forced to operate on irregular sleep-wake schedules:

"Twenty percent of American workers are night-shift workers, and the number is growing by about 3% per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While the rest of society sleeps, police officers, security guards, truck drivers, office cleaning crews, hotel desk clerks, nurses, pilots and many others keep patients alive, streets safe and packages moving. But at a price.

These workers -- and people with more conventionally sleep-deprived lifestyles -- are known to be at higher risk for accidents, sleep disorders and psychological stress due to daytime demands, such as family and other obligations, that interfere with sleeping. Now scientific evidence suggests their disrupted circadian rhythms may also cause a kind of biological revolt, raising their likelihood of obesity, cancer, reproductive health problems, mental illness and gastrointestinal disorders."

Read the entire article on the LA Times Online.

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