Barbara Hobbs, an associate professor of nursing at South Dakota State University who has researched shift work, says working nights is like flying to Germany every night, working and flying back -- the adjustments the body has to make are that drastic.
Typically, night workers get fewer hours of sleep than day workers, in large part because their bodies' circadian rhythms are out of whack, Hobbs
But even shift workers who get a full eight hours of sleep sometimes still feel fatigued, because their bodies don't get good, quality sleep, she
Culllen said shift work affects more than just sleep.
It cuts into time with family and friends, can lead to unhealthy eating-on-the-go and even trigger medical problems such as diabetes, he
, who spent the first 25 years of her
career in hospitals either working shifts or managing shift workers, said she
saw nurses nod off, especially around 4-5 a.m. Workers get more fatigued the later it is in their work week, she
Someone might start out feeling fine on the first night, but that quickly changes.
"Each subsequent night you work, your risk of accidents and injuries goes up," she
While there is truth to the belief that some people are naturally night owls and others morning people, Hobbs
said, shift work usually isn't something that workers necessarily like to do.
Advice on ways to combat the effects of fatigue from shift work, from Barbara Hobbs, associate professor of nursing at South Dakota State University:
* Carpool if possible.
It allows workers to switch off driving, and gives the driver someone to talk and engage with.
* Recognize exactly how sleepy you are.
"If you're sitting in a chair and you fall asleep, and people are constantly waking you up ... then you probably have severe sleep deprivation," Hobbs
* Establish routines and patterns for getting ready for bed. Wash your face, brush your teeth, turn down the temperature in your room, use fan or white noise machine, put up blackout drapes, turn off your phone.
* Don't go to bed on a full stomach.
Have a small, light meal with protein and carbs, but not a lot so your stomach isn't uncomfortable, said Hobbs