Sleeper Cells

The AP reports graveyard shifts may cause cancer. The article explains that overnight work will soon be listed as a “probable carcinogen,” meaning it doesn’t absolutely give you cancer, but it’s likely to.

I’m no scientist, but having worked ridiculous (ridiculous!) hours on two separate occasions in my TV career, I have no doubt screwing with the whole day/night thing can do some serious damage.

Back in the day, I was the morning sports anchor for the NBC station in Hagerstown, MD. I got up at 2am and was at the station from 3am until noon. After a long week of abnormal, spotty sleep, I’d rarely manage to stay up past 7pm on a Friday night. My hair started to fall out. My body broke down. I was always exhausted. Not just “Oh, I could use a nap” tired. Think “I’m at the point of sheer exhaustion and yet there’s no sleep in sight” tired. Then double it. For more than a year.

I went to a doctor to see if there was anything I could do to counteract my body’s rebellion. His expert advice: Get a new job.

True story.

Turns out he was right.

cartoon courtesy onebean

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