A large part of the working population works outside of the regular office hours, for example: healthcare, aviation, and safety. Working in shifts, and night shifts especially, can disrupt the regular sleep/wake rhythm which can be unhealthy in the long(er) term. Shift workers often experience reduced levels of concentration, feeling less alert, and may also suffer from sleeping problems and poor moods. In addition, People who work night shifts for a long time are at a greater risk of obesity, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and breast and prostate cancer.
Fortunately, the insights and possibilities of preventative measures are increasing. The proper use of light and scheduling times is crucial for limiting the negative effects of night shifts. With the use of light and light filtering, it is possible to influence a person’s biorhythm and thereby shift the sleep/wake rhythm to a different time schedule.
The Dutch company Propeaq is the first company in the world to launch an app that guides employees through the prevention of energy dips during the night shift and healthier work by using light correctly. The app, which is free to download, gives advice for administering artificial daylight and filtering blue light. This is possible, for example, with a light box, or by simply using the Propeaq light glasses (www.propeaq.com). The light glasses allow for freedom of movement and uninterrupted work. Simulated daylight is provided by the blue LEDs are contained in the light glasses frame. Based on the individual’s work schedule and personal sleeping preferences, the app advises when the person must use artificial daylight. With the Propeaq light glasses, that is simply a matter of wearing the glasses with the lights on. The app helps night workers or anyone who has to work outside normal office hours to prevent dips and stay safe by remaining alert. It also helps for the drive home once the shift is over.
The light glasses also contain red lenses that filter the (day) light, so the night is simulated. The “Propeaq Shiftwork” app can also indicate when the red lenses need to be worn, allowing the shift worker to fall asleep more easily once at home. Providing mental darkness at the end of the work shift, will actually shift the sleep/wake rhythm of the night worker, limiting the negative health effects.
“Working at night is a continuous attack on health,” says Propeaq director and sleep/wake expert Toine Schoutens. “As a coach for top athletes, we have gained a lot of experience in influencing sleep/wake rhythms. The self developed light glasses appear to contribute demonstrably to success in the sports world. Light/dark regulation has also proved to be enormously valuable during night shifts. For example, our glasses are used in various departments within hospitals. You can imagine how important it is to stay alert at night in the hospital. Because of the effectiveness of the use of light depends on the working hours, we made a special app. The app is suitable for anyone working night shifts in logistics, a company car or control room, at airports or in hospitals.”
Night shifts without an energy dip and with fewer negative health consequences are possible with Propeaq light glasses with the “Propeaq Shiftwork” app, which helps you take the right light at the right time.
Toine hopes to contribute to the better health for millions of people who work during the night.
iOS app click here
Android app click here