Your work schedule has a major role to play in your cardiovascular health. Little did you know, the longer and stressful working hours you have, the higher risk of heart ailments is there. People who work in atypical shifts face health troubles a lot as their body is unable to function properly due to a disrupted biological clock. Researchers have now established a link between working hours and heart health. Here’s what you should know.
According to a study presented at the online congress of the European Society of Cardiology(ESC), work hours that hampers an individual’s natural body clocks such as night shifts or atypical day shifts increase cardiovascular risk. The results were an outcome of conclusive research that was conducted on European employees. According to the research team, around 20% of the total employees work atypical shifts or odd working hours and they deal with deleterious heart health complications. Several factors like unhealthy eating, disrupted sleep, work stress and poor social life contribute to increased cardiovascular risk. These cause circadian misalignment that leads to health issues.
Dr. Sara Gamboa Madeira of the University of Lisbon, Portugal lead this study and here’s what she has to say: “Our study found that for each hour the work schedule was out of sync with an employee’s body clock, the risk of heart disease got worse. We all have an internal biological clock which ranges from morning types (larks), who feel alert and productive in the early morning and sleepy in the evening, to late types (owls), for whom the opposite is true – with most of the population falling in between. Circadian misalignment occurs when there is a mismatch between what your body wants (e.g. to fall asleep at 10 pm) and what your social obligations imposed on you (e.g. work until midnight).”
The link between working hours and heart health
For this research, the team picked up people who work in atypical shifts involving manual picking activity. These include early morning, late evening or midnight work schedules. The team monitored their health parameters and calculated circadian misalignment which is the difference between work hours and the biological clock. Another term for this is social jetlag. The greater the value of misalignment, the higher risk of heart problems.
Dr Gamboa Madeira concluded by saying, “These results add to the growing evidence that circadian misalignment may explain, at least in part, the association found between shift work and detrimental health outcomes. The findings suggest that staff with atypical work schedules may need closer monitoring for heart health. Longitudinal studies are needed to investigate whether late chronotypes cope better with late/night shifts and earlier chronotypes to early morning schedules, both psychologically and physiologically.”
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