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Lancet. 2001 Sep 22;358(9286):999-1005.

Health in a 24-h society.

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Centre for Chronobiology, School of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Surrey, GU2 7XH, Guildford, UK.


With increasing economic and social demands, we are rapidly evolving into a 24-h society. In any urban economy, about 20% of the population are required to work outside the regular 0800-1700 h working day and this figure is likely to increase. Although the increase in shiftwork has led to greater flexibility in work schedules, the ability to provide goods and services throughout the day and night, and possibly greater employment opportunities, the negative effects of shiftwork and chronic sleep loss on health and productivity are now being appreciated. For example, sleepiness surpasses alcohol and drugs as the greatest identifiable and preventable cause of accidents in all modes of transport. Industrial accidents associated with night work are common, perhaps the most famous being Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Bhopal.

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