The natural schedule for humans is to go to bed at night and sleep during the day. Unfortunately, however, modern life doesn’t work that way. To keep our economies running, some people must work at night. A new study says that vampire-like schedule can scramble everything from your hormones and body temperature to athletic ability, mood and brain function.
The study, conducted at the University of Surrey in the UK, looked at the effects of a switch to the night shift on 22 people. Researchers found that many of our genes are timed to be active during the daytime. When the subjects were then switched to a night shift schedule, and thus were awake when they were supposed to be asleep and vice-versa, those rhythms were scrambled.
Studies have shown that shift workers getting too little sleep at the wrong time of day may be increasing their risk of type-2 diabetes and obesity. Heart attacks have also been linked to working at night.
Researcher Professor Derk-Jan Dijk told the BBC that switching to a night schedule throws the body into chaos.
“It’s like living in a house,” he said. “There’s a clock in every room in the house and in all of those rooms those clocks are now disrupted, which of course leads to chaos in the household.”