A new study conducted at NIU found that working odd hours can have long-term health effects. While previous studies have shown that working outside of the traditional nine-to-five workday can negatively impact physical health, mental health and family life, this new research suggests that the effects may persist even if individuals switch to jobs with more normal hours.

Researchers analyzed data from over 7,000 adults over the age of 30 in the United States. They found that individuals with more variable work schedules, such as working overnight or early morning shifts, reported poorer sleep quality and were more likely to have symptoms of depression by age 50. compared to those who worked traditionally. In addition, the study found that black Americans were more likely to have nontraditional work schedules associated with poorer health outcomes, indicating that certain groups are disproportionately affected by nontraditional work schedules.

Dr. Mallika Marshall is an Emmy Award-winning physician and journalist who has been reporting on health for CBS Boston/VBZ-TV for more than 20 years. He is board-certified in internal medicine and pediatrics and currently works at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital where he cares for patients with COVID-19 on the front lines. Dr. Marshall is also the host and editor for Harvard Health Publications (HHP), the publishing arm of Harvard Medical School.

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