Many of us tend to overdue our work late at night and are habituated of doing so regularly, especially when working remotely, which might be not so good idea as there are many psychological and physiological hazards associated with it.

Pros and Cons of Working Late
Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash

Likewise, in many industries working late is a necessary part of the regular workday. Businesses operate through the night to produce as much volume as possible and meet the demands of the market.

The same case applies to the freelancers who have to get their work done within the time limit. Likewise, this can also be applied to employees who are assigned to working these irregular shifts for prolonged periods of time for which they have to suffer from a variety of health issues. So what are these issues? Let’s find out below

Effects of Working Late Hours

Working the night shift forces your body to operate on a schedule defies natural sleep cycles. Most of the time, it’s a bad idea going against what nature put in place. However, it is possible to adapt your body to sleep late to the day and make work late during the night. But if this retraining isn’t done cautiously, the body can begin to suffer serious medical issues. Here’s how working the night shift can affect our health.

1. Disrupts Natural Sleep Cycles

We all know sleep is extremely important for the overall health. While sleeping, the body gets rid of toxins, heals and repairs itself, and mainly there can be seen a huge reduction of stress. Working till late directly interferes with those essential processes. This interference with natural sleeping pattern leads to many health risks mentioned in below points. This may cause different illnesses such as insomnia which can make you prone to sleeping pills. 

2. Increases Risk of Heart Attack

Late night work is known to be one of the major contributors of a heart attack in the late-night work industries. A study shows that there is a seven per cent increase in the chance of heart attack for people working late night or night shifts. There is no concrete answer for why it happens but researchers theorize that the change in sleep habits affects blood pressure and circulation.

3. Increases Risk of Breast Cancer

There is always a greater risk of break cancer for the women working late at night compared to one who does not. Study shows working even one day a week puts a woman at high risk of breast cancer.

4.  High Chance of Depression

Mental health is affected the most in the late-night working hours. Various studies show that chance of depression and disorders in mood increases when late-night work is prioritized.

5.  Risk of Workplace Injury

Working late means working against the body’s natural predilection to shut off certain key operations like consciousness and mobility. Even though we force our body to move forward but it tries to shut down itself time and again.

That leads to a reduction inattentiveness, focus and productivity alongside fine motor skills. In many jobs, if enough focus is not given to the work the risk of workplace injury is high.

6. Metabolism Change

Hormones are the governing agents of metabolism. The hormone called leptin, for example, plays a crucial role in regulating insulin, sugar and body weight. Working night shift interferes with the production and circulation of these important hormones. That can lead to the upcoming sets of disorder on the list.

7. High Risk of Obesity and Hormonal Imbalance

Even if a healthy diet is followed, the hormone imbalance can still lead to obesity and diabetes.

Sleeping during the day and working at night increases your risk of obesity and diabetes. In the case of late-night or night shift workers, these disorders are caused by an imbalance in hormone production.

8. Gastrointestinal Disorders

All the above mentioned problems can accumulate and cause gastrointestinal problems which include diarrhoea and ulcer, which can compound and create much more severe medical conditions. These are sure to have if there is a prolonged period of late hour work.

9.  Melatonin Disruptions

When we work late, you are exposed to light during hours of the day when the body expects it to be dark. Melatonin is the element responsible for balancing and controlling the sleep and wake cycles.

This drastic reversal of light and dark suppresses melatonin production and release. This plunge in melatonin levels means that when we sleep during the day, our body cannot sleep deeply or get enough sleep to repair itself. As a result, you may suffer from long-term sleep deprivation, which is incredibly bad the overall health.

10. Vitamin D Deprivation

Vitamin D is essential for our health. It assists with the absorption of calcium and promotes bone growth. Too little vitamin D results in very bad for bone health along with a whole bunch of other disorders.

Some of the ways to combat working late night

1. Healthy Diet

A healthy diet can reduce the effect of late-night working mildly. While working late always remember to have a healthy balanced diet for carrying on properly.

2. More Sunlight

Sunlight deprivation can be felt the most during late hours work as we tend to sleep most of our day time. Thus it is necessary to make time and get exposure to enough sunlight so that our body can make enough Vitamin D. If not so than taking Vitamin D supplements can also do the work.

3. Proper Sleep Environment

Comfy sleeping environment is highly essential for one working late at night. So the complete darkness in the room and no noise leak is essential

4. Turning Off Electronics During Sleep

Constant notifications, rings and disturbances because of the smartphone disrupts the sleep and affect the body for many days. So it is essential to have your gadgets turned off while you are asleep.


Working late strains the natural sleep-wake cycle and might cause huge disruption in bodily and psychological functions. All of the research and studies conclude only towards the downside effect of late work hours.

However, there are many cases where it’s more than important for work or a job to be done at night. In such a scenario, some measures need to be taken for making health less destructive and finishing the work done at night as soon as possible.