Are you one of those everyday heroes who work at night and sleep during the day? THANKS ! It's not easy every day. We explain to you why night work can disrupt sleep with all the consequences for your health. But above all, we give you some important tips that will allow you to bring out the superhero in you.

In this article :

  • A major disturbance: the circadian rhythm.

  • The indirect effects of night work on health

  • The solutions: the night worker's toolbox

A disturbed sleep-wake rhythm: the circadian rhythm

Nature is made like this: we sleep at night and move during the day. A 24-hour cycle based for millennia on the natural cycle of our planet.

Our brain , our organs, our body are programmed like that. 17 hours ? Better muscle efficiency. The sun sets ? Beginning of melatonin secretion. 02 hours? Deepest sleep. A real machine .

Very simplified:

  • 🌙 Ambient light decreases in the evening

  • 👀 Retinal cells perceive this drop

  • 🧠 Which is then transmitted to the hypothalamus

  • 📈 Who transmits the info so that the pineal gland produces melatonin (sleep hormone).

  • 😶‍🌫️ Melatonin creates the environment for good sleep

  • 🌅 In the morning when the light comes back, the opposite phenomenon applies.

A kind of genetic program that makes us shiver in the evening and gives us the potato during the day. The body is so used to it that even after a night of intense work or gaming, it will seek to return to the comfort of the 24-hour cycle.

Young woman working on her computer at night

But for many of us it's not so simple because our job imposes a different rhythm on us in the long term. Night work, for example, concerns 30% of civil service employees and 42% in service companies !

Over time, night work completely upsets natural cycles. The body loses its bearings. The internal clock is confused because the hormones are not inhibited and/or no longer secreted at the same time.

🛡 It is then necessary to put in place processes to protect yourself (see below).

What is night work?

To put it simply, it is work carried out between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. (according to French legislation).

Night work can be done on a regular or occasional basis and can relate to different types of jobs, such as health professions, security, transport, industrial production, maintenance and cleaning services, among others.

  • 🕛 regular night hours

  • 🕧 irregular hours (but determined in advance)

  • 🕐 split shifts (separate periods)

  • 🕒 rotating shifts

  • 🎮 nights on LoL (more common among teenagers)

The effects of night work on health

city ​​lighting at night

Sleep is truly the backbone of a healthy life. We tell you about it in our complete file on how to sleep better here . Beyond the impact on sleep, night work has other consequences.

⛑ Increased risk of disease

WHO studies confirm that night work can increase the risk of developing cancer.

👉 We're talking here about several consecutive nights without a return to normal, years of night work. Night workers produce less melatonin than day workers and this hormone also has a “protective” function for our cells.

🍔 Bad eating habits

Night work is unnatural, you need to stay awake and focused.

It's paradoxical : our body needs sleep and we impose the opposite on it, even if it means giving ourselves little sweet nudges.

Night work can cause digestive problems: we rush on sweets, coffee, energy drinks or junk food, while the body puts the organs to rest.

And we're not even talking about cholesterol, diabetes, overweight... Beware of small excesses and disruption: The risk of diabetes increases by 37% in men!

😰 Stress

To resist the arms of Morpheus, we get used to being in a permanent state of excitement. When you stay awake and focused all night, it's not easy to come down to a state of calm.

Night workers tend to produce more cortisol during the day: this stress hormone.

Again the infernal circle, since it is at this time that the night worker tries to sleep! This generates sleep disorders and prevents our body from recovering.

🥳 Social life

When we get back from work, we would like to spend a night – sorry, a full day – but here it is: it's the little one's judo competition, and it's the moment when the neighbors have decided to renovate their apartment. Impossible to find a cocooning atmosphere conducive to sleep.

And that's the gear : Our mood changes, we become perhaps as sociable as a goblin behind platform 9 ¾.

People working night shifts tend to reduce their social life which further complicates things.

But that's not all !

When you disrupt your sleep pattern several nights in a row, you increase the risk of an accident at work . It's all related to drowsiness and decreased alertness. The risk is further increased for:

  • 💪 work that requires physical effort

  • ♸ one that is repetitive

  • 🕛 workers posted between midnight and 4 a.m.

  • ⏳ work longer than 9 consecutive hours

And no WRC during work-sleep journeys: the risk of a road accident is 7 times higher!

Fortunately, we have parries to help you take care of your inner temple.

Two construction workers at night on a building site

The night worker's toolbox

Shadow and light

It's possible to trick your body into thinking it's dark when the job is done.

Exit the open windows on the street and on the splendid spring sun, welcome the cozy atmosphere of the heavy curtains and the earplugs. Dim the light, sleep quietly in a cool room, preferably in the morning when the body has the most melatonin.

But that's not all ! If staying under the neon lights in the early evening is feasible, it is absolutely necessary to flee the blue light at least 3 hours before going to bed.

For this, nothing better than blue light blocking glasses! Enough to stay efficient at work while preparing your body for the rest that will follow.

Our glasses are there to help you: the best filtration on the market with lenses stopping up to 86% of blue light.

Champion hygiene

If night work disturbs our sleep, sports activity at the right time... promotes it. Plan a session before leaving for work, you will gain in concentration and well-being.

But when you get back from work, especially not. You will need to refocus on yourself, the famous return to calm of the sportsman.

🧘 ♀️ You have to take the pressure off again , take time for yourself. Why not try to meditate ?

Don't forget to warn those around you : sleep is sacred, and they can participate in your well-being. In the end, they will find you in a good mood and in better shape!

Gently on the stomach

We will look for dishes prepared in advance but balanced, eat at fixed times. It is better to take the "meal" 2 to 3 hours after taking up the post, and something substantial: The body is still a little kept awake by the work.

If you are still tempted by sweets, know that this is your false friend. The little boost it gives is temporary, and the body gets used to it, it always asks for more! It is better to prepare your snacks in the well-being section of your supermarket, with small healthy foods.

As for caffeine: finish the coffee at least 6 hours before returning to the duvet... Or better, for the more adventurous, finish the coffee - period -. We tell you everything here.

The final word: sleep disorders and night shift workers

That's all well and good, but Gotham needs you... Yes, it's hard to change your hours to reduce the effects of night work on your health.

Sleep is the fundamental foundation of good health and night work changes everything!

We can still calibrate all of this: eat better and not sweet, wear anti-blue light glasses, sleep in the dark, allow yourself time to return to calm and overcome stress... All this so as not to leave night work deteriorates our sleep.

We hope these little tips will help you find a healthier rhythm, physically and mentally. it is for you that we design our products!

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