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Shift workers are taking drugs to help them stay awake or get to sleep despite weak evidence for their benefit, according to a new Cochrane review. The results of trials suggest for some they might do more harm than good.
Disturbances to normal sleeping and waking patterns increase the risk of accidents and affect shift workers’ health, making it important to avoid shift work when possible and improve schedules to help workers achieve more normal sleeping and waking patterns, according to a news release. In jobs where shift work cannot be avoided, such as healthcare, the police force or the military, drugs can potentially offer short-term benefits, according to the Cochrane review.