Unearthly hours of working apparently, takes a toll on women more so than on men, a new study reveals. Men are better equipped to work from dusk to dawn, as compared to the women folk, and here is why.
Working late into the night, apparently has a dire impact on the circadian rhythm or biological internal clock of a person, claims the study from UK's University of Surrey. Sleep deprivation negatively influences the brain functionalities of both men and women, but in different ways.
For the purpose of their study 16 men and 18 women were placed on a series of 28-hour days, meaning it involved going to sleep and waking up four hours later each day.
This was carried out in a controlled environment at the Surrey Clinical Research Center in UK. This controlled environment mimics that of, in the case of sleep-deprived working hours or jet lag. In doing so, the circadian cycle of each of the participants were adjusted from normalcy.
The circadian rhythm or cycles is roughly a 24-hour cycle that all living organisms constitute of, yes, including plants and animals. It's the body's internal clock that is regulated by a small group of brain cells. Based on the light from the sun and darkness of the night, the body internalizes its biological clock to wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night.
The research was carried out over a span of 10 days. Once the participants were up and about, they were required to complete a series of tests including self-reported assessments. This was conducted every three hours or so.
Once the participants retracted into sleep mode, the electrical activity of the brain was monitored by performing an electroencephalogram (EEG) test.
The results revealed that this environment undoubtedly had an adverse effect on both men and women as it disrupted their natural rhythm. However in the women folk, their cognitive capabilities like rational thinking and perception, took a heavier toll as compared to that of their male counterparts.
The brain functioning of the ladies were found to be a bit diminished during the wee hours of morning, which inadvertently means that it can affect working women's performance during the night shift, in a real life scenario.
"We show for the first time that challenging the circadian clock affects the performance of men and women differently," said study co-author Dr. Nayantara Santhi, of the University of Surrey.
"Our research findings are significant in view of shiftwork-related cognitive deficits and changes in mood. Extrapolation of these results would suggest that women may be more affected by night-shift work than men." added Santhi.
The research has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
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