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IT Science Technology

IT Night Shift Workers: Fat and Undersexed 203

wiredmikey writes "The results of a recent survey released today by Men's Health Network found that shift workers, people who work non-traditional hours including IT professionals working overnight shifts, report that these shifts are negatively impacting their health, work, well-being, and quality of life. The survey revealed that the majority of shift workers (79%) believe that they are negatively impacted by their shift work and voiced daily concern over their energy level (47%), weight (43%), and their sex lives (30%). Additionally, the survey showed that the average shift worker hasn't had a meal with their family in two weeks or exercised in 24 days. The results of this survey really shouldn't be surprising. While the survey infers that shift workers may be overweight, the issue extends far beyond and into the general population of the United States, including children. Childhood obesity is at an all time high in America, so this issue isn't just related to the night shift."
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IT Night Shift Workers: Fat and Undersexed

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  • by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @07:37PM (#36770024)
    I had more sex and was way more skinnier when I did work the night shift.
    • When examining poultry chicks, "sexed" means you have determined if they are male or female, thus you can sell them at different prices. So when I hear that an IT night worker is "undersexed" it means that an expert was unable to determine which sex they are. That sounds pretty bad to me.

    • I had more sex and was way more skinnier when I did work the night shift.

      Me too. I used to do 12 hour shifts, which worked out to 15 work days in a month as opposed to the usual 20. On the days when I was working, I'd have so little time to do anything that I got in the habit of just going to the gym for a couple hours and then hitting the sack, while my extra days-off left me plenty of time for women. I liked that far more than the ol' 9-5 grind.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Conclusion: skinny people get more sex.

  • Skeptical (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PeanutButterBreath ( 1224570 ) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @07:40PM (#36770058)

    The article doesn't appear to compare these statistics with non-shift workers in the same field. I'm sure that shift work has its own issues, but the gist of the article is that shift work also correlates to "voiced daily concerns" about fairly common maladies among office workers. How does the 43% who complain daily about their weight, for example, compare to non-shift workers?

    • It also solely references people's own perceptions - e.g. it doesn't check whether night shift workers actually are more often overweight than their colleagues in the day shift, just that they believe that to be the case. It would be more interesting to have actual weight data. Also there is the issue of causality - for example it's conceivable that someone who has fewer social contacts would be more likely to accept a job on the night shift.

      Of course it's very reasonable to assume that night shifts would

    • Also skeptical because they reports don't distinguish between types of shift work. There is a huge difference between working "straight swing/night shift" (always on the same shift), "rotating shifts" where you never get a chance to settle in to a schedule because every couple weeks everyone is rotated to another shift, and even working random shifts like the air traffic controllers do where they are working all three shifts during the course of any week.

      Your body can adjust to straight shifts - I worked f

  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @07:40PM (#36770060) Journal

    Are you sure they determined the polarity of causality in this?

    Because, really, it's the chubby, antisocial people with the bad self-care issues that tend to agree to take jobs that subject them to isolation and imposition for less money.

    • Are you sure they determined the polarity of causality in this?

      No, but they did modulate the causality frequency. Unfortunately, that was insufficient to prevent night shift IT workers from wearing Borg costumes.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Like so many things it's probably a feedback loop, not a simple causality. You might be a tad on the "chubby, antisocial people with the bad self-care issues" side to begin with, then when you have the job you become even more so - which makes you even more likely to take another job like it. Skill and experience is typically the most common one, as you get better at something you do it more because it's more fun being good than sucking, which gives you more experience which leads to higher skills which lea

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      For LESS money? Most people want to work an 8-5/M-F shift, so finding people willing to do nights/weekends is more of a challenge for companies. So often those shifts get a differential, so they're making MORE money than the daywalkers for the same job.

  • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @07:41PM (#36770064)
    The fast food and inflatable doll industries extend sincere thanks to corpulent nocturnal IT workers across the globe.
  • Sunlight... (Score:4, Informative)

    by DDLKermit007 ( 911046 ) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @07:43PM (#36770094)
    People need it, shift workers don't get very much of it. Just the bit most get in passing going to & from work helps allot. Without it, people are in general a bit more unhappy & lethargic.
    • People need it, shift workers don't get very much of it. Just the bit most get in passing going to & from work helps allot. Without it, people are in general a bit more unhappy & lethargic.

      "These "lumivores" reject the safety of darkness and appear to seek out light. Sickening []."

    • by isorox ( 205688 )

      People need it, shift workers don't get very much of it. Just the bit most get in passing going to & from work helps allot. Without it, people are in general a bit more unhappy & lethargic.

      When I worked 12 hour shifts, including nights, I got a lot more sun than I get now I do "9-5" in a windowless office, commuting on undeground rail. In the winter I'm underground before the sun rises, and leave after the sun sets.

  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Thursday July 14, 2011 @07:43PM (#36770098)

    When I worked the Graveyard, I made sure that for my "lunch" I actually *left* the facility, often for a quick trip to the 24hr gym, and just as often went to a 24hr cafe. I made sure I had healthy snacks (I'm a serious snacker). I mean, you HAVE to take the initiative and think about how to create a healthy environment for yourself regardless of the time of day. In most cities, this is perfectly possible, you don't HAVE to spend your breaks sitting on your ass smoking and eating junk food.

    • That was my thought, back when I worked security, the night shift was the slimmest shift we had. With the day shift coming in second. The reason being that there was a ton of exercise involved with it, more than with either the day or swing shift.

      • My guess is that there's less food too. Cafeteria is closed, restaurants are closed, even many fast food joints are closed after ten or so. So you would tend to bring your own food. Or else use a vending machine but someone's going to get tired of stale twinkies and snickers for "lunch". Now if they put all the IT night shift worker in downtown Manhattan or San Francisco I'm sure they'd find something open, but not in the smaller cities or suburbs.

        • Denny's? Seriously, there is a Denny's in Bum Fuck Monroe, Washington. Most cities larger than 10,000 (and many of those as well) have all-night diners. And most cities have 24-hour big-name groceries such as (here on the West Coast) Safeway and Winco... They sell real food at these places as well as "ready made" real food... Really they do.

          But really, what's to stop you from making a nice deli sandwich and a salad for your "brown bag" lunch? Nothing but apathy and laziness, in which case perhaps you were m

          • I think my point was that by being forced to make your own lunch you tend towards healthier food as well. Denny's may be around sometimes but it's not necessarily the healthy option.

            Quite a lot of corporate buildings are built well away from your basic amenities, stuck in an industrial park for instance. More encouragement to bring a brown bag with you.

            • I think my point was that by being forced to make your own lunch you tend towards healthier food as well.

              I agree...

              And these days, it is neither hard nor time consuming to make a decent sandwich and pack a salad...

              Deli sliced meat, cheese, stone-ground mustard, lettuce of your choice, on deli rye / whole wheat (or if you must, Wonderbread), pre-chopped lettuce and a bottle of vinaigrette... Can of soda or juice

              Total prep time, 10 minutes.

              As well, there is little excuse not exercise if you want, even if it means just a swift walk around the warehouse / building / parking lot. Buy some dumb-bells or clime the st

              • Just to add to this, go the whole way and make that vinaigrette yourself. Saves you a ton of additives that add nothing of value to the consumer, only enable the producer to make it more cheaply and give it a longer shelf-time. Adds perhaps 2 minutes to preparation time. Or, if you want that salad really quick - dash of good olive oil, squeeze of lime, pinch of salt. Mix it, done.
          • Security officers aren't typically allowed to leave the building for lunch. Which is why they typically brown bag it for meals on other shifts. Good luck getting a pizza delivered when you don't know if you're going to be free at a particular time to pay for it.

  • by denshao2 ( 1515775 ) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @07:44PM (#36770106) Homepage Journal
    Daytime IT workers are not overweight and have plenty of sex?
  • I chose late night work because I am fat and undersexed.

  • by Tofino ( 628530 ) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @07:57PM (#36770214)

    Night shifts working in the old "cold room" computer rooms was an awesome job as a university student. In a average twelve-hour shift, there was maybe six hours of work if you really stretched things and did a little extra. Yeah, there were the panicky emergency nights where you're literally running around fixing stuff, but on average there was six hours of time to fill waiting for jobs to finish, printouts to print, and error messages to not pop up. Nighttime TV sucks. Nighttime radio sucks. There wasn't always studying to do or a paper to write. And couldn't be out of the room for longer than a longish bathroom break length of time (5 minutes maybe) just in case a problem happened. That meant plenty of time to:

    • - Chair race with the security guard around the cold room floor. Excellent rolling surface! Avoid the giant vaxen and Big Blue Monolith for higher score.
    • - Go for a walk up and down the stairs. Six flights! 14 stairs on each flight except between the 2nd and 3rd floor, where one flight had 13. Never worked that one out. Back to the room in under five minutes.
    • - Go down to the weight room, grab a couple dumbbells, bring them back up . Random dumbbell exercises in the room. Put them back in the weight room before the 5am fitness nutters come in.
    • - Sitting on an operating high speed line printer acts like one of those vibrate-the-weight-off machines. Okay, I never did that one, but female colleagues may have. Or my girlfriend. Allegedly.

    Great job that I'm not sure even exists anymore. But I was the Buff Operator From Hell for those few years.

    • by Dan541 ( 1032000 )

      Go for a walk up and down the stairs. Six flights! 14 stairs on each flight except between the 2nd and 3rd floor, where one flight had 13.

      The fact that you know how many stairs there are just shows how boring the job must have been.

    • +1 here. I used to work the graveyard shift on a helpdesk for tax software, and it was the sweetest entry-level gig I ever had. Midnight until 8am. We got about 10% more money per hour for doing it, and it was way more relaxed than the day shift. Hardly anyone is doing their taxes at 4am. Management isn't there to make sure I'm wearing a tie, or that my feet aren't on the desk, or whatever bee is in their bonnet that day. Starting at midnight means that you can go out in the evening, have dinner with friend

    • Nighttime TV sucks.

      I find nighttime TV (~11pm to ~6am) better than daytime TV (~7am to ~4pm) anymore. Cartoon Network's Adult Swim is decent much of the night, depending on how much you like their shows. Now there's Netflix and the like too.

  • Well I'm only the "swing" shift so maybe this doesn't apply to me (from 2pm to 11pm). I get home around 11:30pm. I have trained myself over the last year to be able to shower and go straight to bed when I get home (asleep by midnight). No TV or computer games. That way I have the next day to take a walk in the sun and go grocery shopping. I also haven't bothered with any kind of cable TV. No point in that really. I mean if I had a PVR of some kind then I could what? Spend several hours every day when i wak
    • I dislike being awake for 4-5 hours before work, it makes the end of the work shift really drag. I really need my free time to come after work and before bedtime, rather than after bedtime and before work.

    • I worked that shift for three years from 2000-2002. Swing shift was, by far, my most hated shift. Unfortunately, in that particular job, swing shift was the busiest (therefore, least boring) shift, so that's what I worked. As far as hours, though, that shift sucked big time because it meant I didn't get to spend a lot of time with my family, except on weekends.
    • I have tried, but never could adjust to swing shifts ... my biological clock wants me comatose between 9PM and midnight. I can easily work night shift as long as I get a few hours sleep just before going to work.

  • by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @08:00PM (#36770246)

    IT Day Shift Workers: Fat and Undersexed

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @08:06PM (#36770312)

    Back when I was younger and worked a night shift (4pm to midnight) the sex was great. Senior management couldn't be bothered to hang around and our shift turned into a big orgy*.

    There's a valid argument about getting adequate sunlight. But that can be done on the 4-12pm shift. Just hit the sack when you get home. Wake up a bit later then the masses. You've got the day to yourself after the 9 to 5 shift folks have gone to the office. The stores, coffee shops and gym are uncrowded.

    *If your staff isn't that hot, you've got the day off. With all the housewives. Studies have shown that the best time for sex is mid-afternoon. Forget stories about orgies late into the night. People who get it on late in the evening do so because of kids or crappy work schedules.

    • by Inda ( 580031 )
      That's no night shift.

      I worked 10pm-6am and it was a shitter. In the summer it was impossible to sleep when I got home, so there was only one thing for it: Wake the missus and make her bake me a cake... I mean wake her and do the nasty.

      There's nothing good about working nights. Never, ever do it.
  • by sdguero ( 1112795 ) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @08:08PM (#36770328)
    cause its harder to see how fat they are.
  • by goodmanj ( 234846 ) on Thursday July 14, 2011 @08:28PM (#36770480)

    Come on, Slashdotters. I thought you cared about science. This "study" is awful.

    1) Experimental controls. According to the article, lots of shift workers think their work impacts their lives, and are worried about their weight and their sex lives. Guess what? EVERYBODY hates their work, and is worried about their weight and their sex lives. How about asking people who *aren't* shift workers, and seeing if shift workers have bigger problems than the average Joe?

    2) Conflict of interest. The summary says the study is by "Men's Health Network", but the linked article says it's by "Men's Health Network and Cephalon". Who's this "Cephalon"? Oh, they're a drug company. [] What sort of drugs do they make? take a wild freakin' guess. []

    So, congrats on sucking down free advertising from a drug company trying to turn your life into a treatable medical condition, without a single moment of skepticism.

    • Exactly. And you didn't mention from TFA:

      While the survey shows infers that shift workers may be overweight, the issue extends far beyond this group, and into the general population of the United States, including children. Childhood obesity is at all all time high in America and that has nothing to do with the night shift.

      So is this a problem particular to night shift workers, or is it a general problem of our society? The article says both. What a terrible article and study.
      • What a terrible article and study.

        Yes, but doing a double blind, randomized and sufficiently lengthy study with a statistically significant population would actually cost money and while some of us here on Slashdot might be interested in learning exactly why late night IT workers are overweight, undersexed and tired all of the time; I doubt that anyone else wants to spend a few million to find out. On the other hand, the government has wasted far more than a few millions on even more dubious projects, so if they're going to waste my tax mon

  • absolute shitload of money to get me to do shift work. Hell, I refuse to even do on-call anymore.

    A few years ago, $BIGCORP tried to get my team to do shift work for an indeterminate period. They wouldn't tell us how long it was for, and also wouldn't tell us what sort of overtime pay we'd get for it. They even had the gall to say they would be "disappointed" if no-one took them up on the offer. Funnily enough, no-one did.

    • In the country where I live the labor laws regulate it.

      You get double paid for every night or weekend shift, period, there is no discussion.

  • Homer: I'm looking for something loose and billowy, something
    comfortable for my first day of work.
    Salesman: Work, huh? Let me guess. Computer programmer, computer
    magazine columnist, something with computers?
    Homer: Well, I use a computer.
    Salesman: [quietly, to self] Yeah, what's the connection? Must be the
    non-stop sitting and snacking.
    [more audibly] Well, sir, many of our clients find pants
    confining, so we offer a range of alternatives for the ample
    gentleman: ponchos, muumuus, capes, jumpsuits, unisheets,
    muslim body rolls, academic and judicial robes --
    Homer: I don't want to look like a weirdo. I'll just go with a
    -- Homer, inconspicuous, "King-Size Homer"

  • Watta ya' live under a rock?
    Was Abe Lincoln too honest?
    Do woodchucks chuck wood?
    Do dogs chase cats?

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson