Night Shift Study

Scary truths about the graveyard shift Circadian Technologies (a ‘consultancy’) has found some things about night shifts:

Graveyard-shift workers make five times as many serious mistakes and are 20 percent more likely to suffer severe accidents.

Those on the overnight shift also have a significantly higher incidence of costly diseases and disorders, costing employers billions.

…divorce rates are as high as 60 percent among all-night workers, and why they have 150 percent more stress-related gastrointestinal disorders.

The medically related:

On July 1, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, the national body that oversees medical residents, mandated paring back residents? brutal 100-hour workweeks to 80 hours, and reducing their 30-plus hour patient-care shifts to a maximum of 24.

I’ve been told, and have no reason to doubt, that a disproportionate number of medical mistakes happen at about 0400.

I’ll keep all this in mind while I’m working the night shift this month.


  1. I have wondered many times why it is deemed necessary to torture young doctors by depriving them of sleep. And then why do we place our lives in their shaking, sleep-defecit-addled hands? It doesn’t seem smart from any perspective.

    I have worked third shift in a hospital and while I was struggling with depression, a cold that would not go away, and terrible nightmares when I did get to sleep, it was nothing next to the suffering of the interns. I hated to have to be the one to call them about a patient when I know they just went to lie down fifteen minutes ago after not sleeping for two days.

    It’s been proven (hasn’t it?) that sleep deprivation cuts drastically into the mind’s ability to learn and retain information. Why can’t the doctors be allowed to live like humans while they are training?