Shift-work: a review of the health consequences

Main Article Content

Ana Silva
André Silva
J. Duarte
J. Torres da Costa


Shift work has become a common practice across many sectors during the past decades as a result of the growing demands of human life. There are many possibilities to organize shift schedules, however, all of them, some more than others, impose serious impacts on the individual´s health, social life and organization level. Thus, we conducted a review using Scopus, Science Direct and Web of Science, and using the keywords and criteria deemed appropriate, with the main objective of identifying the main consequences that have been positively associated with shift work at several domains to this day.  The results of this review indicated that shift work and everything that this type of work implies, can lead to severe health consequences, namely sleep disorders, psychiatric disorders, gastrointestinal disturbances, metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease, urologic disorders and even some types of cancer. These health consequences arise due to the disruption of the circadian clock system, which is associated with alterations at genetic level. Moreover, shift work also causes impacts in social life, as the individual may experience more difficulties in socializing with family and friends, which may lead to isolation and organization level, as excessive sleepiness, stress and dissatisfaction may lead to a detriment of the performance and alertness, which may result in more accidents. In conclusion, considering the nefarious effects that this type of organization of working time can impose, primarily for the worker, but also for the worker’s family and also organization in which this works, it is crucial that the organization seek to protect the worker safety and health, which can be achieved by consultation the working physician but also with the use of tools that allow monitoring the worker health and general cognitive state.

Article Details