It’s certainly no secret that shift work is taxiing on our health in more ways than one. In fact I’m sure you can appreciate first hand just how challenging it is to work irregular hours day after day after day … or should I say night?
But what about cardiovascular disease?
Does working shift work enhance our risks of developing cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension and coronary heart disease?
The simple answer is ‘yes’.
And whilst the mechanisms for doing so vary, the fundamental driver behind this, is unhealthy sleep patterns – which I’m sure every single shift worker on the planet can relate too.
But exactly how does lack of sleep raise our risks of developing cardiovascular disease?
Well it essentially comes down to an overactive sympathetic nervous system, otherwise known as the fight-or-flight’ stress response arm of the nervous system which instigates a lot of physiological responses within the body including the release of stress chemicals that raise blood pressure and heart rate. One of which includes cortisol.