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Naps are solution to shift work ailments

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DENVER -- A 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule is considered a luxury these days. More than 20 million people in the U.S. are shift workers, heading to their jobs during odd hours.

New studies show shift work can have a negative effect on your health, but there is a simple solution for staying alert and happy.

A new study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine shows a possible link between shift work and memory problems.

Medical experts have long said that not getting 7 - 9 hours of sleep each night can affect your entire body.

Guardian Urgent Care Clinic Lead Justin Murphy explains, “Lack of sleep can result in a psychological effect can also affect metabolism and lead to obesity.”  The signs that you have a problem include extreme fatigue and problems concentrating.

Doctors say many patients come to urgent care facilities complaining about health problems that end up being related to shift work. “Coughs colds and flu can result from an underlying immune-suppresion that comes from sleep deprivation,” Murphy says.

The good news is that there is a simple solution for warding off the effects of shift work.

Studies show taking a short nap each day can help restore your body's balance, but keep it to 45 minutes or less.  Studies also show that once you stop working odd hours, your body recovers naturally.

Until you can get a schedule change, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise will also keep you healthy, alert and strong.