In the United States, consumerism is a large part of culture, so it makes sense that working and work ethic is also very important. The British Journal of Cancer discussed the health effects of working longer hours on the development of cancer. This brought up the question, what health effects does night shift have on people who work them? With about 27% of working Americans working night shifts (10 PM to 6 AM), night shift is an important part of the American work ethic. As working night shift can have serious health consequences for the workers, it is important to put regulations on night shift employment. At the same time, it is the worker’s choice whether or not to work night shift, but also his/her right to be informed about the health effects of working nights. According to the Korea Health Panel, women working night shift were more likely to develop a mental illness and their health, mentally and physically, diminished (Woorim Kim). Also, Paola Ferri, from the Department of Diagnostic, Clinical and Public Health Medicine at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, says that shift and night work have many harmful consequences.
“Many gastrointestinal symptoms and disorders associated with shift work have been reported in literature for >2 decades: dyspepsia, gastritis, colitis, peptic ulcer, indigestion, appetite disorders, irregular bowel movements, constipation, heartburn, pain, abdominal rumblings, flatulence, and gastro-duodenitis. Several factors may be involved in the gastrointestinal symptoms reported among shift workers: alterations of the circadian rhythm of gastric functions (gastric secretion, enzyme activity, and intestinal motility) and types of food consumed, medication, psychosocial stress, and for women, altered menstrual cycle.” This shows that night shift work can be detrimental to the health of the workers. It can disrupt their natural sleep schedule and lead to physical and mental health problems such as depression, caused by lack of sleep, obesity and diabetes caused by a disrupted eating schedule, and other gastrointestinal problems. But, on the other hand, if your circadian rhythm, or your sleep schedule, is night inclined, then it could work out the other way and be good for your health. As it says in The Effects of Shift Work on the Lives of Employees, “shift work accommodates ‘night owls.'” Also in the same article, it says, ” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these shift premiums average 10 cents an hour for the evening shift and 13 cents for the night shift.” (Finn) This shows that while it can be a problem for people who are not night-inclined, it can also be good for the people who are or who need the extra money from the slightly increased wage of the night shift.