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OCDEM’s Professor David Ray is one of the sleep experts taking part in an innovative project offering shift workers support and advice on mental and physical health, and free face-to-face consultations with sleep experts.

The project, located at the Rochdale Infirmary in Greater Manchester, is called Night Club, and it is part of the largest ever direct engagement programme in the UK to bring together shift workers and sleep researchers with the aim of improving their sleep. 

A joint project from creative consultancy The Liminal Space, Rochdale Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the University of Manchester, night shift workers will also have the opportunity to learn about the impact of light on achieving effective spells of sleep, how diet can impact on rest and alertness, and how insufficient sleep negatively impacts the body clock. 

One in five workers do shift work, which disrupts sleep and the body clock. These changes increase the risk of common diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease
- Professor David Ray

Professor David Ray, who is also Professor of Medicine and Endocrinology, at the Centre for Biological Timing, University of Manchester and University of Oxford  said: “Our work aims to find ways to protect people from the possible ill-effects of shift work. We are delighted to work in Rochdale, explaining how the body clock, and sleep work, and helping people to manage their lives around shift work.”

The Centre for Biological Timing at the University of Manchester is the largest research grouping in Europe working on the body clock. Problems with body clock timing are linked to many medical problems, including cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, inflammatory conditions, neurodegeneration, mental health, and cancer. 

Councillor Sara Rowbotham, cabinet member for health and wellbeing at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming Night Club to Rochdale. This innovative project offer support to the many shift workers across the borough who do such vital jobs. It’s really important that we offer them the chance to stop and think about their own wellbeing so they can stay well.”

Sarah Douglas, director of Liminal Space said: “One in eight people now work nightshifts, approximately 11.5 per cent of the UK’s workforce, and this is increasing as more companies operate around the clock to keep our 24/7 ‘on-demand’ society running.

“The negative impact night shift work has on health and productivity is well documented and Night Club provides a direct intervention to empower this crucial, but often forgotten, part of our workforce with the latest sleep health advice.”