Light deficits: sleep doctors call for special lighting for night workers

Light deficits: sleep doctors call for special lighting for night workers

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Unhealthy night work: Sleep doctors want special light for those affected
Concierge, bartender, factory worker: the night shift is an everyday occurrence in many industries. Many of them are struggling with sleep disorders. Their working conditions generally pose an increased health risk. Changing the lighting conditions could improve the situation of those affected.

Night work is a health hazard
For years, studies have repeatedly shown that regular night shifts can lead to health problems. For example, US scientists recently reported that night work is bad for the heart. In addition, previous studies showed that the risk of breast cancer is increased by regular night shifts, and that diabetes and obesity are promoted.

Special light for people working at night
In the run-up to its annual conference in Dresden, the German Society for Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine (DGSM) also points out that it has been scientifically proven that "regular work on night shifts makes you sick," reports the dpa news agency. According to sleep doctors, almost ten percent of Germans regularly work night shifts, which disturbs their “internal clock”.

The experts therefore call for a special light for people who work at night. According to the DGSM, switching the lighting is an important step against the negative effects on health.

Exchange of the latest knowledge
According to the DGSM, around 2,000 experts will also be discussing night shift work and the latest findings at the Dresden Congress from December 1 to 3. As the DGSM emphasized, due to the suppression of the dark hormone melatonin by light, it is considered "probably carcinogenic".

While the rotating shift system reduces sleep after night shifts, the DGSM sees further research needs regarding the effects of night work.

Improved lighting for workers on night shifts
"With the LED technology available today, it should be possible in the future to design lighting that improves the attention and concentration of the employees who are illuminated during the night shift - while at the same time there is no negative impact on health," the experts write DGSM.

But there is more that can help those affected to sleep better. "A healthy diet has a positive effect on sleep," says an older DGSM statement. "Shift workers should eat meals with a high protein and carbohydrate content, as well as avoid hard-to-digest food and fried foods." (Ad)

Author and source information

Video: Light and Circadian Rhythms. Sarah Morgan. TEDxStanleyPark (August 2022).