Health in a 24-h society

Lancet. 2001 Sep 22;358(9286):999-1005. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(01)06108-6.


With increasing economic and social demands, we are rapidly evolving into a 24-h society. In any urban economy, about 20% of the population are required to work outside the regular 0800-1700 h working day and this figure is likely to increase. Although the increase in shiftwork has led to greater flexibility in work schedules, the ability to provide goods and services throughout the day and night, and possibly greater employment opportunities, the negative effects of shiftwork and chronic sleep loss on health and productivity are now being appreciated. For example, sleepiness surpasses alcohol and drugs as the greatest identifiable and preventable cause of accidents in all modes of transport. Industrial accidents associated with night work are common, perhaps the most famous being Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Bhopal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Chronobiology Phenomena / physiology*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Melatonin / blood
  • Sleep Disorders, Circadian Rhythm / etiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Melatonin