Many years ago the job I did entailed working shifts. The thing is, I’ve never been able to sleep after working a night-shift—no matter what I did. I used to come in from work, crash out for two hours, and that was it for the day.
I could get away with it when I was only working two consecutive night-shifts, but when the shift pattern changed and I had to work seven in a row, things became very difficult and my health began to suffer. I often used to say to myself: This can’t be good for my long-term health. It turns out I may have been right all along. According to an article in the Huffington Post yesterday:
“Poor sleep is strongly linked to increased risk for Type 2 diabetes. The two problems – which have been referred to as twin epidemics – present serious public health risks in the United States and worldwide. Sleep problems are also linked to risk for obesity, a primary risk factor for diabetes, and to metabolic syndrome, a condition that often precedes diabetes.”
As a society we tend to make light of the issue of sleep problems and tend to adopt the attitude: “what can’t kill you will make you stronger”. These days employment is more stressful than it used to be. We work longer hours and are expected to hit targets and constantly ‘up’ our productivity. It’s no wonder that we suffer stress, have sleep problems, and are susceptible to chronic health problems.
The sole interest of many modern employers is whether or not you can do your job. And if you can’t, regardless of the reason, the chances are that you will be out of the door, looking for alternative employment. So if your job is affecting your health: Tough luck! The reality is that you’re considered ‘dead wood’ — something to be cut adrift.
For too long, sleep, or more to the point the lack of it, has been something that has been ignored as a key influence on physical and mental health issues. But it’s now time for society to realise: sleep problems can have a devastating affect on a person’s mental and physical well-being—the knock-on effect being an extra strain on an already overburdened health service.
The research suggests that sleep deprivation can be a potential killer; linked to a risk of obesity, a primary risk factor for diabetes, and to metabolic syndrome, a condition that often precedes diabetes. With this in mind, it’s more important than ever that we treat the issues of sleep problems as the major health concern that it so rightly is.