Do odd work hours affect women more?

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Monday, April 18, 2016

SURREY, U.K. (WPVI) -- Working odd hours can be a drag for anyone.

But does the graveyard shift put women, in particular, at risk?

We all want a regular schedule during the day, and good sleep at night.

But 21st century jobs often involve unusual work hours and work weeks.

Disrupting that fine balance between sleeping and waking can make you cranky, depressed, or have a harder time thinking.

Now, new research from the Sleep Center at the U.K.'s University of Surrey suggests women might suffer more from a disrupted sleep cycle than men.

They subjected 16 men and 18 women to a 28-hour day, testing them regularly to assess their mental state and physical condition.

Not surprisingly, the more tired they were, the worse the subjects did.

But for women, the effects were even more pronounced.

Especially in the early morning hours, women felt sleepier, reported more often that it was harder to think, and did worse on tasks to assess coordination.

More research is needed to confirm the findings, since it was a small study that didn't take into account all the possible factors.