Advertisement

Young people who work 9-5 have better long-term health, study finds

Professionals listening to a discussion in an office. Group of happy business people having a team meeting. health
Young people who work daytime shifts are likely to be healthier long-term. (Getty Images)

Working regular nine to five hours as a young person could set you up for better health long-term, a new study has found.

Despite Dolly Parton’s claims that working a day shift means barely getting by, new research suggests that work outside of this shift pattern can lead to poor sleep, fatigue, and emotional exhaustion.

It added that people who work different or irregular hours when they are young are more vulnerable to several health conditions once they hit their fifties – and that this particularly affects people who only started working irregular hours in their thirties.

The study, published in PLOS ONE, used data from The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-1979, which includes data on more than 7,000 people in the US over the age of thirty, to see whether employment patterns in young adulthood were associated with sleep, physical health, and mental health at age fifty.

The researchers found that around a quarter of participants worked stable standard hours, with a further third working mostly standard hours.

Engineer using laptop working while standing over Natural gas power Plant at construction site in evening twilling
Working irregular hours can take a toll on your health. (Getty Images)

Researchers also found that 17% of people worked standard hours in their twenties before transitioning to irregular working patterns.

Compared to individuals who mostly worked during traditional daytime hours throughout their working career, those whose careers featured more volatile work schedules slept less, had lower sleep quality, and were more likely to report depressive symptoms at age fifty.

"Work that is supposed to bring resources to help us sustain a decent life has now become a vulnerability to a healthy life due to the increasing precarity in our work arrangements in this increasingly unequal society," Professor Wen-Jui Han, study author from New York University said.

"People with vulnerable social positions disproportionately shoulder these health consequences."

In the UK, around 27% of the adult population are night shift workers according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS data added that nighttime workers are more likely to be low earners, and The Sleep Charity said that night shift workers produce less melatonin, the sleep hormone, which means they are more prone to restless and interrupted sleep. Broken sleep can lead to health complications later in life.

Additional reporting by SWNS.

Health: Read more