Shift work or no shift work we must sleep. Sleeping is as important as waking. If we do not sleep properly, we cannot wake properly. It follows, therefore, that if we cannot wake properly our life is compromised. We may be half awake when full alertness is required.
A good night’s sleep can be seen as reward for a hard day’s work. The writer of the Book of Ecclesiastes states that, ‘the sleep of a labouring man is sweet’. The body needs proper sleep in order to rest and rebuild itself for work the following day. A common concern of many shift workers is that if they do not sleep well, they cannot work well.
We certainly turn back the hands of the industrial clock and return the entire world of work to the conventional ‘eight to four’ or ‘nine to five’. But at the same time we cannot compromise the quality of our work and the quality of our family life. We need to take care of ourselves regardless of the weather. A healthy work/live balance must be achieved or else we will put our health in jeopardy. It is indeed backward to diminish the economic gain that shift work was designed to create.
No doubt industrialization, modernization and the onward march of science and technology have brought untold benefits to mankind as regards food production and distribution, control of infectious diseases, global travel, etc., but we cannot allow progress on any front to diminish the benefit of a long and health life.