Working unusual shifts, varying between morning and evening is likely to result in a reduction in brain power according to new research by the British Medical Journal.
A sample of 3,000 people were studied to monitor certain aspects of brain function such as memory and information processing speed. The research found that those who worked unusual hours performed worse, on average, than those who worked normal hours.
The difference became more noticeable over time, with those who had been working shift patterns for ten or more years revealing the biggest difference compared to their normal-hour counterparts.
The disruption to the body's internal clock caused by shift work is already known to cause health problems such as ulcers, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. But until now, little was known about the potential impact of alternating sleep patterns on brain function.
Those who work unsociable shifts can find it difficult to get a good quality sleep, especially when returning home after a night shift. Our sleep expert Dr Nerina says that creating a regular winding down routine before bed will give you the best chance of a good quality sleep.
Find out more about the perfect wind down routine in Dr Nerina's Toolkit.