A number of health problems have been linked to insufficient and / or disrupted sleep. Working antisocial hours can age the brain prematurely and reduce intellectual ability, French researchers have now shown. It has been found that a decade of shifts can have the effect of ageing the brain by six years or more. Some degree of recovery is possible when people stop working antisocial shifts, albeit requiring perhaps five years to recover. The potential implications of these findings for the causation and prevention of dementia are unclear, but further research is expected.
Gallagher, J. (2014). Shift work dulls your brain – report. London: BBC Health News, November 4th 2014.
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Marquié, JC. Tucker, P. [and] Folkard, S. [et al] (2014). Chronic effects of shift work on cognition: findings from the VISAT longitudinal study. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. November 3rd 2014.