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Nightshift Workers Found To Be Less Alert And Have A Worse Memory

Believe to be caused by a disruption to the body's circadian rhythm, nightshift workers could be at high risk of workplace accidents.

An analysis published by the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that nightshift work can cause memory and other brain function problems.

Lower levels of alertness, visual focus, and declines in the ability to control impulses and situational response were also discovered to be directly affected.

This could potentially raise the risk of workplace injuries and errors for nightshift workers. "Our findings suggest an association between shift work and decreased cognitive functions such as working memory," study co-author Thomas Vlasak told UPI in an email.

This "may ultimately contribute to work-related injuries and errors leading to potential implications for occupational health and safety, especially for high-risk and safety-sensitive professions," said Vlasak, a member of the scientific staff at Sigmund Freud Private University in Linz, Austria.

It found that working outside of the average day/night cycle can interfere with the body's circadian rhythm, as people are out of routine with the normal light/dark process. "Studies suggest that managing healthy sleep patterns outside of shift work, taking naps when working overnight, following a healthy diet and controlled exposure to light during and after work can help to minimize risks," Vlasak said.