While most Americans sleep, 3.2 percent of the country’s population works the graveyard shift, also known as the night shift or 3rd shift. Night shift workers include police officers, hospital staff, truck drivers and factory employees, and they keep the country moving when most of it isn’t.
Working the night shift brings many challenges, not the least of which is fighting the natural wake/sleep rhythms dictated by our physiology. Unfortunately, many lose that battle and find themselves always tired. Even worse, that persistent fatigue too often leads to safety issues in the workplace and on the roadway.
Sleep deprivation leads to an increased safety risk regardless of the time on the clock, but that risk is three times greater during the night shift, according to a study as reported by SomniLight. That’s a 300% increase in workplace accidents due to night shift fatigue.
That danger doesn’t end with workplace and roadway safety issues either. The risk to individual health also increases for those who disrupt their natural sleep patterns, part of their circadian rhythms, especially when they are unable to achieve satisfactory sleep on a regular basis.
“Circadian rhythms can influence sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, body temperatures and other important bodily functions. They have been linked to various sleep disorders, such as insomnia. Abnormal circadian rhythms have also been associated with obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder.” – National Institute of General Medical Science
A night worker’s circadian rhythm gets confused when the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, gets confused. Melatonin is produced in the body when it’s dark (nighttime) and that production slows down when it’s light (daytime), a process opposite of the needs of night shift workers.
Since sleep patterns are based mainly on a person’s exposure to light, adjusting light exposure for night shift workers may help them get adequate rest. Using amber lenses in the few hours before bedtime is increasingly being considered an ideal option for many hoping to achieve this goal.
Amber lenses that block blue light reduces sleep problems as well as the health concerns associated with disrupted circadian rhythms by normalizing melatonin production. An article in The Huffington Post titled “Blocking Blue Light Helps Sleep” reports on studies that show how wearing amber lenses improves sleep duration, efficiency, and overall sleep quality, and they do so without negatively impacting worker productivity.
Wearing blue-blocking glasses two hours before the end of a shift and at home before bed signals the body’s melatonin production and promotes sleepiness. Amber lens eyewear may be the best option for many night shift workers struggling with fatigue along with the health issues that accompany insufficient rest.
The cost of blue blocking eyewear like the Nighttime Eyewear by NoIR ranges from only $13.50 to $29. Perhaps a regular good night’s sleep — along with increased productivity and a safer working and driving environment — for many night shift workers is only this small investment away.
For more information on amber lenses for sleeping as well as other uses, check out the following articles: