A sleep expert has proposed that individuals who work night shifts should contemplate wearing sunglasses to shield themselves from daylight while returning home
According to Guy Leschziner, a consultant neurologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, there are theories suggesting that melatonin might have a protective effect against cancer. It is crucial to prioritize maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm by ensuring exposure to bright light, especially when heading home.
Melatonin plays a vital role in preparing the body for sleep. The circadian rhythm, also known as the body’s sleep cycle, is a 24-hour cycle that regulates the balance between feeling sleepy and alert throughout the day. Neglecting this rhythm can lead to health problems and an increased risk of workplace accidents.
“The neurologist emphasized the challenges faced by individuals struggling with their shift patterns, noting that some resort to wearing sunglasses on their way home to help increase their melatonin levels. He further highlighted the role of genetics in how shift work and sleep affect people.
He clarified that if someone enjoys high-quality sleep, winding down by watching Netflix until 11 pm and peacefully drifting off to a great night’s sleep, then they need not worry about the impact of shift work. While some individuals may experience minimal consequences from exposure to blue light in the evening on their circadian rhythm and melatonin levels, others may be significantly affected. It’s important to recognize that everyone is different, and strict rules don’t apply universally to the entire population. The concern arises only when shift work disrupts one’s sleep.
The neurologist also mentioned recent findings that daytime naps can improve blood pressure but cautioned about the potential for disturbing nighttime sleep. Contrary to the belief that older individuals require less sleep, he emphasized that they still need the same amount as when they were middle-aged. However, the aging brain may struggle to consolidate sleep and maintain deep sleep, leading to fragmented sleep and weaker sleep drive. Consequently, sleep quality may decline for some individuals.
Regarding the necessity of daytime napping, he suggested considering the amount of sleep obtained during the night and whether a nap interferes with other activities.