Night shifts affect women more than men

Nigh shifts affect women more than men



A study suggests, at the early morning hours, women are more likely to be cognitively impaired. The hours that coincide with the end of a night-shift.


Women are affected more than men, study suggests

Women are more likely to be adversely affected if they are working night-shifts than men, claims a study, suggesting that the sleeping-waking cycles of men and women affect their brain function differently.


Research carried out by University of Surrey

University of Surrey’s researchers (in the UK) took 16 male and 18 female volunteers and placed them in an artificial, controlled environment consisting of 28-hour-days and no natural sunrise and sunset cycles.

The sleep-wake cycle of the brain’s 24-hour clock was in this way, desynchronized, which is similar to dealing with jet-lag or the changes in work-shifts.


The volunteers underwent a wide variety of tests (including objective tests of cognitive performance, mood and effort, motor control and working memory, etc.) during every three hours of their wakefulness.


  • Women are cognitively impaired during the early hours

Electric activity of the brain was constantly monitored

The circadian effect on performance was prominently stronger in women than in men. This is what makes them cognitively impaired during the early hours.


  • What they had to say

Nayantara Santhi from the University of Surrey in UK said, “We show for the first time that challenging the circadian clock affects the performance of men and women differently.”

Santhi added that their research findings are significant in view of shiftwork-related cognitive deficits and changes in mood.Extrapolation of these results would suggest that women may be more affected by night-shift work than men.


Derk-Jan Dijk from University of Surrey said, “These results show that in both men and women circadian rhythm affects brain function and that these effects differ between the sexes in a quantitative manner for some measures of brain function.”



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