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A recent study conducted at NYU has revealed that working unusual hours can have lasting impacts on one’s health. While earlier studies have shown that working outside of the traditional nine-to-five workday can negatively affect physical and mental wellbeing as well as family life, this new research suggests that these effects may persist even if individuals switch to jobs with more standard hours.

The researchers analyzed data from over 7,000 adults aged 30 and above in the US. They found that people with more volatile work schedules, such as those who work overnight or early morning shifts, reported lower sleep quality and were more likely to experience depressive symptoms by age 50 compared to those who worked traditional hours. Moreover, the study showed that Black Americans were more likely to have non-traditional work schedules associated with poorer health outcomes, indicating that certain groups are disproportionately affected by non-standard work schedules.

Dr. Mallika Marshall, a physician and Emmy award-winning journalist, has been reporting on health for CBS Boston/WBZ-TV for over 20 years. She holds Board Certifications in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and practices at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital where she is currently caring for COVID-19 patients on the frontlines. Additionally, Dr. Marshall is a host and contributing editor for Harvard Health Publications (HHP), the publishing division of Harvard Medical School.

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