December 15, 2022

Shift workers have increased risk of severe COVID-19

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

This international sleep study led by researchers at the University of Bergen, Norway, finds that shift/night work was not associated with an increased risk of COVID-19, but if shift/night workers became infected, they had more severe disease.

The analysis included 7,141 workers from 15 countries and 4 continents.

Among the findings:

  • Those who worked face-to-face with others had a higher risk of COVID-19, but they did not have a higher risk of more severe disease than those not working face-to-face.
  • Compared to daytime workers, shift/night  workers did not have a higher risk of getting infected; however, once infected with COVID-19, they had an almost 6-fold higher risk of being hospitalized than daytime workers.

The findings support the hypothesis that impaired sleep and circadian disruption affect the immune system in a negative way, the researchers say.


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