Shift workers face challenges that most other workers don’t; irregular sleep patterns, meals out of sync, tiredness when moving between erratic sleep patterns. It is no wonder that there is so much research which points towards shift workers being more likely to start being diabetic and harder to control blood sugar levels for existing diabetics.
- Unhealthy nurses working irregular night shifts at high diabetes risk., Nursing Times November 2018.
- Study links shift work to increased risk of diabetes, NHS 2014.
- Diabetes and Shift Work, Diabetes Self Management June 2018.
- Night Shift Work, Genetic Risk, and Type 2 Diabetes in the UK Biobank, American Diabetes Association, April 2018.
- Rotating Night Shift Work and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, A study of NHS Nurses in 2011.
- Diabetes control is more difficult for night shift workers, ENDO2017 Conference
- Shift work and genetic risk factors for type 2 diabetes, Science Daily February 2018.
- Shift workers ‘face type 2 diabetes risk’, BBC News July 2014.
How Can Employers Help?
Individuals have a personal responsibility to look after themselves whether they are diabetics or not. But a responsible employer can help by;
- Undertaking risk assessments.
- Building regular breaks into shift patterns for blood monitoring and medication.
- Providing healthy food to shift works, particularly at sites where healthy food is not easy for employees to buy nearby.
- Offering health screening programmes.
- Allowing access to websites and other educational material.