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Why working night shifts effects Women more than Men?

It’s late, well after midnight and you are pushing yourself wishing the coffee in your hand refills it self. Night shifts can be tough but someone is always needed to step in for the work, but why is it more tougher for Women than Men?

Ladies working night shift

Night shift working could affect women’s ability to function more than men’s, suggests a study that compared men and women’s performance after experiencing 28-hour day schedules that delayed their sleep-wake cycle until it was out of sync with their internal 24-hour body clock.

The study – from the Surrey Sleep Research Centre (SSRC) at the University of Surrey, UK, and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – is the first to show that shifted sleep-wake cycles affect men and women’s ability to function differently, revealing key differences in cognitive performance and changes of mood.

Researchers put 16 male and 18 female volunteers on 28-hour days in a controlled sleep lab at the SSRC. This meant that they experienced day-night changes on a 28-hour pattern instead of the 24-hour pattern of their inbuilt circadian rhythm.

As the days went on, the participants began to sleep out of sync with their internal clock – similar to what happens when working shifts or due to jet lag.The participants underwent a range of objective tests of their performance – such as attention, motor control and working memory. They also completed subjective tests – self-assessments of sleepiness, mood and effort.

The researchers also took continuous readings (electroencephalograms, or EEGs) of electrical activity in the participants’ brains as they slept.

The results showed that for both men and women, the subjective measures – the self-assessments – were more sensitive to the effects of time awake and circadian rhythm than many of the objective measures of performance.

So Ladies take note!

But the more crucial finding was that the effect on the objective measures of performance was stronger in the women’s results than in the men’s; they showed the women performed less well during the early morning, which would be around the time a night shift worker comes off a night shift.

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