In modern day society there is an increasing need to work longer 24hour shifts. using your knowledge of biological rhythms and their impacts disscuss the impact of these demands.
Shift work is a work pattern that falls outside of the normal 9-5 working hours. Shift hours came into place firstly in hospitals. This was because the patients needed round the clock care. Another place where shift work came into place was in factories. However even though there are advantages to this type of work there are negatives too, one of these is that there are major disruptions to the employee’s sleep patterns. Most sleep is needed during the times of 2-4 am. This is when most shift workers will struggle to get through their shift. Another reason why it affects them is because it changes the circadian rhythm.
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Employers hardly ever give out these types of contract because they feel that they cannot justify paying employees to sleep whilst they are at work. Another biological rhythm that gets disrupted by shift work is the Ultradian Rhythm, this is a cycle that repeats more than once in a 24hour time period.
The Ultradian rhythm describes the non-rem and the rem cycle. The non-rem cycle consist of 3 stages, however before the body enters into the rem cycle it has to go through all stages of the non-rem cycle. The first stage is a light sleep, this is where the eyes are shut but during the first 5-10 minutes it is very easy to wake up. The second stage is when you are still in a light sleep but your heart rate drops and the body temperature lowers as the body is preparing itself for stage 3 which is a deep sleep.
Rem sleep is most likely to start about 90 minutes after the body has fallen to sleep. The first period of REM sleep last for about 10 minutes. During the night the rem periods get longer and the last one can last up to 1hour. During REM sleep is when the mind is most active and the heart rate quickens. This is because the mind starts to dream and try to work out what has happened in that day. Adults only spend about 20% of their sleep in the REM sleep cycle whereas babies spend about 50% of their sleep time in rem sleep. Babies spend longer in this type of sleep because this is where the body starts to repair and to grow.
This means that due to shift work these cycles are disrupted and it is harder for the person to go back to sleep when they get home from work as their internal body clock will see that it is day time and that they should be awake instead of asleep. This can lead to these people becoming sleep deprived which can cause more accidents if they are on the road or even when they are at work.