Health consequences of shift work and implications for structural design

M. G. Figueiro, R. D. White

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The objective of the study was to perform a literature review on the health consequences of working rotating shifts and implications for structural design. A literature search was performed in June 2012 and a selection of the most relevant peer-review articles was included in the present review. Shift workers are more likely to suffer from a circadian sleep disorder characterized by sleepiness and insomnia. Shift work is associated with decreased productivity, impaired safety, diminished quality of life and adverse effects on health. Circadian disruption resulting from rotating shift work has also been associated with increased risk for metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. This article summarizes the known health effects of shift work and discusses how light can be used as a countermeasure to minimize circadian disruption at night while maintaining alertness. In the context of the lighted environment, implications for the design of newborn intensive care units are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S17-S23
JournalJournal of Perinatology
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Circadian system
  • Melatonin
  • Newborn intensive care unit design
  • Shift work


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