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J Perinatol. 2013 Apr;33 Suppl 1:S17-23. doi: 10.1038/jp.2013.7.

Health consequences of shift work and implications for structural design.

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Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, USA.


The objective of the study was to perform a literature review on the health consequences of working rotating shifts and implications for structural design. A literature search was performed in June 2012 and a selection of the most relevant peer-review articles was included in the present review. Shift workers are more likely to suffer from a circadian sleep disorder characterized by sleepiness and insomnia. Shift work is associated with decreased productivity, impaired safety, diminished quality of life and adverse effects on health. Circadian disruption resulting from rotating shift work has also been associated with increased risk for metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. This article summarizes the known health effects of shift work and discusses how light can be used as a countermeasure to minimize circadian disruption at night while maintaining alertness. In the context of the lighted environment, implications for the design of newborn intensive care units are also discussed.

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