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Why you should consider shortening work hours

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People working in a demanding job involving long hours or shift work would have possibly faced sleep deprivation countless times – a phenomenon that is highly detrimental to health. Here’s why you might want to consider shortening work hours or perhaps removing shift work for your employees.

A study conducted by The University of Hong Kong’s Department of Anaesthesiology of LKS Faculty of Medicine found sleep deprivation is associated with increase in DNA damage and decrease in DNA repair. This was done by analysing the blood of 49 healthy full-time doctors after just one night of acute sleep loss.

In the study, young doctors were required to work night shifts and this highlighted the impact of disrupted sleep in healthcare professionals.

While the study involved young doctors, it stressed that sleep loss and disorders don’t just affect healthcare professionals or people who work shifts. It is a public health problem, even declared a public epidemic by Hong Kong’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

In fact, the World Health Organisation has listed night shift work as a probable carcinogen (defined by ScienceDaily as a substance that promotes cancer).

The research thus highlighted that further research would be important in helping evaluate the efficacy of different strategies in alleviating sleep loss.

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