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Aired March 13, 2010 - 15:00   ET


TOM FOREMAN, CNN HOST (voice-over): When the economy turns tough and any job is a good one, many people who might otherwise prefer the day find themselves happily on the night side.

I'm Tom Foreman, and welcome to the NIGHT SHIFT IN FOCUS.


FOREMAN: Once again, we have turned loose the talented and dedicated photojournalists here at CNN to capture unique stories of America with nothing but their cameras, microphones and the voices of the people involved. And the people this time are united by one thing - they work while most of us sleep.

So what better place to begin than in the city that never sleeps? New York, where Deborah Brunswick found sundown is just a warm-up to midnight at the market.


BERT BIFULCO, HEAD SALESMAN, RUBIN BROS.: Yes. Let's open it up, look at it.

We sell Napa bok choy, peppers, cucumbers, squash. Make sure it looks green.

You get like a rush, like when people go to Atlantic to get a rush, this is a rush. There's always something to do.

My name is Bert Bifulco. I've been down in the market over 30 years.

Hunts Point Market basically is a receiving area for most of the produce that's distributed up north. It's really a different world than maybe a lot of other night businesses.

Listen, (INAUDIBLE) to me?


BIFULCO: We talk different, we sit and argue over prices. We curse out a buyer, he curses us out and five minutes later we start all over again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) out of here. BIFULCO: Sometimes you get to hear a lot of words you don't want to hear, but it's part of our business and it's meaningless. That's what makes it fun. It makes the night pass and makes our business what it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) he touched his hear (ph).

BIFULCO: Anyone who works night, it affects you physically, mentally, your home life - everything. Your health is probably all screwed up, you know what I mean?

I sleep badly (ph). I have high blood pressure. I have it all. So, you know -

But it's - a lot of it's from the business, but this is what I chose.

Trust you?


BIFULCO: Home life? Listen, I've been divorced once.

You're not home. You're not around. You don't see the kids grow up. You miss out on a lot of things.

You don't give them your time, but listen, you're making - you make a good living now, you can afford to give them what they want. Just, they don't have you.

I've been doing it so long, I - I don't think I could work days. I'm just in the habit of working backwards. I'm like a vampire. I don't know how else to explain it.

But I enjoy it. I mean, I like the produce business.

Come on, give me your order. Here comes another one. Here comes another one.


FOREMAN: As the cost of property has risen in cities, the need to get the most out of it has risen, too. So you find a school doubling in the night as an aerobics center or a church may rent itself out in the evening to a civic group. And even some of the biggest places are pulling double duty, which requires a lot of effort.

Take, for example, Philips Arena in Atlanta, home to the pro hockey team the Thrashers and to pro basketball's Hawks. Making room for both in the same place, Eddie Cortes shows us how that absolutely depends on night moves.


ANNOUNCER: Our final score for tonight's game, the Tampa Bay Lightning 2, your Atlanta Thrashers, 1.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The games end at 9:30 at night. We're starting at 10:00.

We've changed this building over every night from hockey to basketball, basketball to hockey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what we call the third shift, the nightshift.

When everybody else is asleep, this is when this building can change from one thing to the next. It's extremely physical and very hard work.

RICHARD MANLEY, PHILIPS ARENA: Yes, it is. It is hard work.

Sometimes you get those two days off, you really enjoy those.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people don't like working at night. But then again, I know people who wake up at 4:00 in the morning to go to work, and I don't think I could do that.

MANLEY: It's 12:00 now, and we've got hockey deconstructed. The ice is covered. The basketball court is still coming out. I have 15 cartloads.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We put the pins in the floor pieces and putting the floor together like that.

MANLEY: It's 1:15 in the morning. We're about seven carts into our basketball laid down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get used to it. You stay busy so the night comes - the time goes kind of quick.

MANLEY: They have a morning skate at 10:00. I have to have the ice ready for that. And the same thing for basketball. 10:00 in the morning is usually the first shoot-around, unless there's a matinee game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. By 4:00 or 5:00 we usually get through.

MANLEY: The basketball floor is down. Now we're heading into the final finishing touches.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have certain bleachers over here that has to come out.

You just have to train your body to be up at night, if you're not a night person.

MANLEY: It is what it is. I mean, in the middle of the night, I mean, this is like - somebody has to do it. I'll take it.



"DOCTOR" BOB LEE, WBLS D.J.: Wrapping up just about 55 minutes of nonstop music.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Coming up later, the music of the night.

LEE: Today's R&B and Classic Soul.

FOREMAN: Radio worth staying up for:

LEE: People are up all the time.



FOREMAN: -- spending the night on call for pets.

WEAVER: Some days are really, really hard. But there are good days too.




FOREMAN: Many of our stories this time around are based in New York, in part because there are simply so many industries, businesses and services there that have to operate around the clock to serve the nation's largest urban population.

Take for instance the folks who took Jonathan O'Beirne for a look at their night side.


BRENDAN DEAN, PARAMEDIC, FDNY: I like being on midnights because it's - it's a more rounded tour. There's less supervision out here overall, so I have the ability to actually have more hands-on approach to my personnel.

MICHAEL POTASSO, PARAMEDIC, FDNY: We'll pretty much coordinate the resources between fire, ambulance resources.

MICHAEL LOSCALZO, PARAMEDIC, FDNY: It's the Lifepak 12. It's a defibrillator and a heart monitor.

DEAN: The New York City Fire Department has four ambulance stations in the borough of Manhattan. On the midnight shift, covering from 14th Street up to basically 72nd Street, East Side to West Side, river to river.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Things happen on the jobs, you know? You don't know how to explain that to the person that you're with or to your family. LOSCALZO: It definitely interferes with your family life, your social life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to start from the beginning of the relationship. It depends on the person you're with.

DEAN: Everything we get, you could get on any tour, I mean, you know, as far as the shooting or stabbing or somebody in cardiac arrest. That's why 9/11 is a 24-hour service.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I'm too, too tired or I become sick, I just - I just bang out, because no need for me to bring it to work, you know?

And I just find I have to be on point, you know? I have to be able to think straight. If I'm tired and I'm sick, I'm not going to be able to think straight.

DEAN: I know of a lot of other people who've had problems, you know, with insomnia and stuff like that, and being up (ph).

LOSCALZO: The lack of sunlight definitely has an effect on you.

DEAN: My body seems to be very resilient.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is what I want to do and this is where I'm going to stay. I'm not going to fight it.

POTASSO: You kind of see the other side of people. The person who's probably the very quiet person you see at work every day, you see her at night, a completely different person outside. So it's - it's interesting. Sometimes entertaining. Definitely a lifestyle.


FOREMAN: Perhaps the most time-honored companion of the night shift is the radio. Whether music or talk, the pleasant sounds of someone else awake on the planet have helped a great many night shifters make it through until morning.

Of course, it's easy to forget that only happens because someone in radioland is also pulling an all-nighter, someone like the man who at least calls himself a "Doctor" in the New York night. But what he most heals is loneliness, spinning Classic Soul.

Photojournalist Bob Bikel takes us to hear the sweet sounds of Bob "Doctor" Lee.


LEE: It's the Doctor, Bob Lee 107.5 WBLS, New York.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bobby, Bob, Bob, Bobby.

LEE: The Doctor, Bob Lee wrapping up just about 55 minutes of nonstop music. Thank you so much for tuning in. This is the city that never sleeps, you know? People are up all the time, and I think that's cool.

Grab my shirttail and let me take you for a ride. I'll carry you down to about 5:00 in the morning.

This is New York City and I think you have that group of people that work like they do in the daytime. The best part of working this shift, you don't have anybody leaning over your shoulder.

Do you know how to sing that song?

I think we have those hardcore listeners.

How late are you going to be up?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Until you go off.

LEE: Oh, all right.

This is personal. It's a - it's a personal connection, an interaction with your community.

You have snow in your house?


LEE: Now, why would you have snow in your house?

If you love something and you're really passionate about it, you - you turn that into your personal life, too. When you're working these type of hours, sometimes you've got to get some shut eye where you can.

I go down to the gym, get on one of those mats, put your head back. Next thing you know, you picked up a couple of, you know, a couple of minutes of sleep.

Look, if you're passionate about something, you know, sometimes it's worth it to you. When that person comes up to you and says, hey, I remember what you said when you came to my school, you know, you inspired me, it's worth it.

Well, we appreciate you so much.

And that's why I do the things I do.

As I always say when I get off the air, remember this, what you are is God's gift to you and what you make of yourself is your gift to God. So choose your choice, and let your choice control the choosing.

I'm the Doctor, Bob Lee from 107.5 WBLS. Have a great day. Bye.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) FOREMAN (voice-over): If you have trouble nodding off after pulling a night shift, you're not alone.

DR. THOMAS LORUSSO, SLEEP SPECIALIST: It's not infrequent that I'll see a - a patient that's experiencing a lot of trouble related to shift work.

FOREMAN: In a bit, the science of sleeping during the day.

And a bright idea -

KEVIN HENTZELL, SERVICE TECHNICIAN, YESCO: People are just now starting to wind down. I go on in. We're coming out to work.

FOREMAN: -- pulling an all-nighter in a town where it's never really night.



WHITFIELD: Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Back to NIGHT SHIFT IN FOCUS, but first a look at the top stories.

At least 35 people were killed in a series of bomb attacks in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. Officials say 47 people were injured and at least two attacks were suicide bombers targeting the police headquarters and prison.

No claim of responsibility, but Kandahar is a Taliban strong hold.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is lashing out at Israel over its plans for new settlement construction in the disputed territory of East Jerusalem. The Israeli announcement came during the visit of Vice President Joe Biden this week.

Clinton expressed the Obama administration's anger over the plan in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday. Clinton discussed the issue with CNN.


HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: And the announcement of the settlements the very day that the vice president was there was insulting.

I mean, it was just really a - a very unfortunate and difficult moment for everyone, the United States, our vice president who had, you know, gone to reassert America's strong support for Israeli security, and I regret deeply that that occurred and made - made that view known (ph).


WHITFIELD: New Republican Senator Scott Brown accused President Obama and Democrats today of a bitter and destructive drive to pass health care reform.

In the GOP's weekly radio and internet address, Brown says the move would be disastrous. Brown says the focus must be on the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs.

And in his weekly radio and internet address, President Obama unveiled a plan to dramatically change the No Child Left Behind law. The changes would dismantle the 2002 law championed by President George W. Bush.

Among other things, it would reward schools for progress and move away from punishing them and a call on states to adopt standards aimed at getting students ready for college or a career rather than grade level proficiency.

Now back to our special look, NIGHT SHIFT IN FOCUS.

FOREMAN: In a CNN/Opinion Research Poll for this series, we found that 54 percent of Americans have at some point worked a night shift. About 10 percent are doing so currently. That gives us an idea about how many people are laboring in the dark. What it does not tell us is how they feel about it.

People are largely visual animals, and in the night, that sense is challenged, to say the least. So photojournalist Jeremy Moorhead wondered what effect the night shift has on people, and it turns out he's not alone.


LORUSSO: When you look at how humans exist, they exist in three states - wakefulness, like we are right now; dream sleep, (INAUDIBLE) a guy think he was like a tiger; and non-dream sleep.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know why (ph) you wanted to get up?

LORUSSO: I'm a pulmonary sleep specialist. I've been doing sleep medicine about 20 years now.

It's not infrequent that I'll see a patient that's experiencing a lot of trouble related to shift work. We'll evaluate them in the lab and make some recommendations to try to improve their sleep quality. You'll see more Stage One and Two non-dream sleep in those individuals.

Almost 20 percent of the adult population nowadays is working shift work.

We see again some eye movements right here.

You do tend to see a bit more insomnia in -in the shift worker. They often will have difficulty staying awake during - during their shifts, and many will find it difficult to actually try to fall asleep during the day when they get home.

Poor quality sleep or insufficient sleep can result in a lot of impairment - hypertension, diabetes, psychiatric disorders.

People tend to sleep well when they are sleeping during high levels of melatonin. It increases when it's dark. In a normal individual, around 10:30 at night, melatonin levels will increase and most people start feeling sleepy. Between 2:00 to 4:00 in the morning, that level peaks, so it's really easy to fall asleep at 2:00 to 4:00 in the morning.

And when you come home from a - from a night shift, you're trying to fall asleep at a time when there's bright light, and bright light naturally suppresses those melatonin levels, so it becomes much more difficult to sleep.

A lot of physicians may not ask you about your sleep, but it's a third of your life and I think really getting you sleeping well can often help a lot of issues during the day.


FOREMAN: Our poll found that 66 percent of us get less than eight hours of sleep a night. Perhaps that's why most of us are less than happy to be put onto a night shift, because we're already tired.

But 45 percent of people who have ever been on a night shift liked being there. I've been one of those. Sure, it requires a lot of adjustments for individuals and families, but many people discover that they cannot only make it work, they can actually make it good.

For example, the woman Fred Schang found in the business of bread.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I come in, I (INAUDIBLE) get my coffee and I try to wake up.

I have a good team that I work with, so we kind of watch each other, keep each other up.

These are all our organic breads. We take a lot of pride in them, so we try to pack them with as much love as we can.

You have to kind of pretty much try to stay focused. It's a little bit hard, being that I work at night. Most of us don't wake up until about 2:00 in the morning, but we try to do our best.

I'm a proud mother of three, so that sometimes can be a little bit harder for me because I have to deal with colds and school appointments, PTA, and, at the same time, maintain a certain level of professionalism.

Good night.

So, I pretty much come in. I wake my son up, because he's the hardest to wake up. It doesn't matter what time he goes to sleep.

OK, wake up. Come on.

It's a team effort. I think working at night takes a team to kind of like make it completely work and be a good strong foundation. Right?

We don't get to spend as much time together as a family unit as I would like to. And I also work on the weekend, so when we would normally would have family functions, I sometimes have to plan ahead.

So as long as I don't have to sacrifice my safety and my health, then overall then, it's worth it.

This is Akera (ph). Hi. Good morning.

When I look at them, I want them to have so much. But, right now, with the way the economy is and everything, I just feel more secure being able to be with them and not have to put them in a daycare setting so young.

Say, "Have a good day."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, me and my husband definitely sacrifice as far as our personal time together, but, at the end of the day, we realize what we want (ph). In the long run, I have to basically feed my kids and take care of my kids and do what's best for them.

We have dreams, and hopefully working at night wouldn't kill me before I get them.



FOREMAN (voice-over): Still ahead, after midnight in the animal house.

DR. JONATHAN W. BALL, VETERINARIAN: It's a - a pretty busy place. We - you know, you can be -


BALL: -- slammed until 4:00 in the morning. We can have some quiet nights.


FOREMAN: And the beauty and the best view in town, the glory of the sleeping city seen from a rare vantage point -

MICHAEL FINNEN, ROOSEVELT ISLAND TRAMWAY: The skyline of Manhattan is always no comparing (ph). It almost changes day by day.



FOREMAN: Much of what goes on during the night shift is really about the day, about preparing the world so all of us who are sleeping arrive to crisp newspapers and cold milk, full grocery stores, clean offices and bundles of mail, and on and on it goes.

But, then there is the work that is distinctly about the night, about shadows and secrets. Border patrol officers, for instance, have long known many illegal entries into the country are attempted after the sun has disappeared. If you think their job on land is tough, imagine what it is like at sea. Way across the country, off the coast of San Diego in the Pacific Ocean, photo journalist Gregg Canes went for a star-lit ride to watch the waves.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sector San Diego, sector San Diego this is Cutter Vetrol (ph) (INAUDIBLE). You have a radar contact. How far? Port bow? All right, we picked up a contact on our MarFLIR. It's a smaller vessel, going to get behind the swells...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready, five more on deck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Coast Guard Cutter Vetrol, she's an 87- foot Marine protective class patrol boat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all good up here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Patrol is a counter-migrant, counter- narcotics. We work at night, historically that's when migrants and any kind of drug smugglers are trying to get into the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ocean is efficient in regards to moving a lot of drugs at one time, thousands of pounds or tens of thousands of pounds in some cases, and get it into the United States with relative ease and that's why we're out here, because we're about the ease portion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are about 3-1/4 miles from the U.S./Mexican border, about three miles offshore, right now.

Our concerns are that you just don't know who is trying to come into the United States, could be terrorists. Right now he is 20.5 nautical miles from us.

The unique challenges for nighttime patrols are the boats we're looking for are unlighted and they're hard to see. They travel at high rates of speed, so they're going to try to elude us or run from us. They're more maneuverable than we are because they're small.

This is our Marine forward looking infrared radar MarFlir. And it sees heat. We can see small crafts unlighted because the heat signature is given off. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like night patrols more. There is more chances of meeting these contacts or migrants or drugs, and passes time a lot faster.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best part of night patrols, I suppose, is that you get to know your crew a little bit better. That's kind of the only enjoyable part, I'd say. There is nothing fun about being up at 3:00 in the morning, 4:00 in the morning.



FOREMAN: Strangely enough, there are places where it is simply never night. Working the night shift in such places is an entirely different matter than it is almost anywhere else, but then there is so much that is different about Las Vegas. That's where photo journalist Tim Hart went to spend time with folks whose night work is always light.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a 24-hour town.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Las Vegas became the neon capital of the world because it was the neon signs that lured people off of the highway and into your property.

KEVIN HENTZELL, SERVICE TECHNICIAN, YESCO: Oh, the morning. People are just starting to wind down and going in. We're coming out to work. Everybody else is sleeping at 4:00 a.m. People want stuff fixed right now -- not tomorrow, not the next week -- right now.

We can see outages, right now, when they're out and problems that you might not see in the daylight. So it gives us the opportunity to fix every outage that we can spot at night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It takes courage, it takes skill. The kind of education that you're going to have to have as well as just the physical temerity to get up on these cranes and work on these signs. That takes a great amount of mental discipline.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean everything is an obstacle. It's a nightmare. We always run into electrical problems. Being shocked. You have to be careful. You got anywhere from 9,000 to 15,000 volts traveling through those units. We work odd hours, long hours some days. And the elements, the actual weather itself, it's hot, it's cold, it's freezing, sometimes 120 degrees, 140 in the sign. You deal with it and adapt to it.

Suddenly saw water...

Now a days you have to know electronics, sheet metal work, rewiring a sign, high voltage, low voltage. It's an easy job once you get use to it. You know, you deal with the elements, it's an all right job. Nothing I can change, right now. (END VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN: Up in Massachusetts, the night lights burn very late for a very different reason. There they glow for comfort and care. The Foster Hospital for Small Animals is always open, mindful of the fact that not only man, but also his best friend can have problems at very late hours. Photojournalist Bob Crowley takes us there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This place is where things can happen.

Hello. Are you with us?

Where pets that don't really have any hope, find some hope.

DR JONATHAN W BALL, VETERINARIAN: It's a night team environment working the overnights because you're all in it together and it's usually the same few people. But, we certainly see a fair number of highly critical patients, for sure. This is our ICU. This is staffed by at least one doctor 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a super intern here which means I've done an internship.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She walked over and collapsed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I get a bucket or something?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I worked in emergency medicine for a year, that's what I like, and so I came back to do a second internship.

Hold on, she's coming off the table. Hang on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone get the anesthesia machine.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody is here because they love what they do.


SHANNON WEAVER, EMERGENCY AND CRITICAL TECH: I'm one of the ECC technicians here. I've been here a little over four years. I've always been a night owl. I would much rather be here this hour of the day than at 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning.

Oh, I know baby. This is a little kitten probably only a couple of days old that someone found. We need to give him heat, he I can't keep his body temperature regulated. One of our co-workers is going to take him home.

He's meowing, so you know that you're not in the longs, so you're in good shape.

She is almost done with her first liter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately having a lot of episodes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, her owners are going to come in to put her to sleep.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, we want to try to support her until they get here.


It's not easy. It's sad. He's only 8 years old. So, I'm just glad his family will be able to come in and be with him. His outcome isn't so great, but I was here and I was petting him and I feel like maybe I comforted him a little bit and that's why I do it. I don't think I'll ever get tired of that, as hard as the job is. But, there are good days, too. The kitten, holding the kitten will make me smile later. Things like this make the day better. I had a couple of really awful things happen. Then you get to see little guys like this and it makes it OK.



FOREMAN: Coming up, the moon rises and so does the tram over New York, carrying passengers for breathtaking views.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please hold on while the cabin is docking.

And one diligent night shifter, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I prefer the night. Just I'm used to it, now.



WHITFIELD: Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Atlanta. More of the nightshift in a moment, but first a check of the top stories. Former U.S. Secretary of state Henry Kissinger is being treated for a stomach virus in South Korea. Doctors say all his vital signs are now normal. The 86-year-old Kissinger is in Seoul attending a security conference.

And a federal court ruled that the vaccine additive thimerosal does not cause autism. The ruling stems from parents with autistic children who allege that the illness was due to the mercury-containing preservative in the vaccine. As a result of the ruling, these families are not entitled to federal compensation. And flooding is a big worry in the northeast this weekend. A combination of rain and melting snow is blamed for the high water in Pittsburgh and the area could see more soggy trouble tomorrow when the Ohio River crests.

And check out the skyline in northwest China. What you are seeing is a severe sandstorm engulfing the area. Billowing clouds of dust reduce visibility down to zero. And that made getting around a nightmare, but no serious accidents or injuries are reported.

Now, back to "Nightshift in Focus."

FOREMAN: If you stay up late enough, you can see astonishing things, especially in big cities where the lights keep burning long after most of the crowd drifts off to bed. In a bad enough place, the night may be frightening. In a strange enough place it may be disorienting. But, in the right place, if you have the right eye, it can truly be beautiful, as photojournalist Effie Nidam discovered on the night tram.


MICHAEL FINNEN, CABIN ATTENDANT: As I said, the city never sleeps. There's always action. My name is Michael Finnen I'm a cabin attendant for the Roosevelt Island Tramway. The public transportation between Manhattan and Roosevelt Island which is an island in the middle of the East River.

Please hold on while the cabin is docking.

My shift is from 10:00 at night to 6:00 in the morning. The skylight of Manhattan is always overpowering. But, I think more so at night when all the buildings are lit up and reflected on the East River.

Tonight it's pretty calm. Other nights it can be a little foggy and very quiet and mysterious.

I prefer the night shift. I'm used to it now. My whole life is geared around it.

Let's go, please, we're late.



FINNEN: OK. Closing my doors. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. If you are standing, please hold on while the cabin is in motion. Thank you.

It is a different lifestyle, in reverse. Eating patterns are all off. Our sleeping patterns are all off. The best thing about the job is it leaves my days free, especially in the warm weather. You know, you get out, walk around. The downside is, you know, you lose contact with a lot of friends and family. Working nights it's sort of pleasant to have the sun coming up. Some people say I have one of the nicest jobs and I tend to agree with them.


FOREMAN: For all of the great photo journalists here at CNN who make the "In Focus" series possible, I'm Tom Foreman. Thanks for watching. You can follow our award-winning photo journalist series at And while you're there you can get a behind- the-scenes look how we created this virtual world. We leave you now with some more scenes from the night from coast-to-coast.


WHITFIELD: All right, this hour we have been watching Tom Foreman's special reporting on what it takes to work the nightshift. Well, over the years, CNN has hosted special reports from all over the globe, but this is the first time we hosted from a virtual world and it wasn't (INAUDIBLE) small feat. It took a whole team and one green wall, just take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's unfocused, once he's done, we're going to light the (INAUDIBLE) for him and then we'll get started.

Thank you.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Turning CNN's Washington Studio C into a virtual world is no small feat. A team of lighting specialists, graphic designers and studio personnel all worked in concert to get all of the elements just right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks better. It's a lot less...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we're good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a little bit of a -- the logo is actually blue. So, and it's blue neon, actually.

FOREMAN: Attention paid to even the most minute details.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the light coming in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See how the shadow is hitting -- right like that? (INAUDIBLE) it's going to look natural in the environment?

FOREMAN: After shooting in front of a green screen, the task of making our virtual world believable falls to the talented artists of our graphics department.

MATT GUASTAFERRO, CNN GRAPHIC DEPT: So now I'm just going to go through and try and key out the green. We've done green screen before, but not on this scale.

FOREMAN : And once all of the pieces are assembled, voila.

(on camera): Welcome to the "Nightshift In Focus."


WHITFIELD: Yeah, pretty neato stuff. All right, well next, I'll be talking to a doctor about the health risks of working the nightshift.


WHITFIELD: All right, many of you work when just about everyone is sleeping and you try to sleep when most people are awake. We're talking about the nightshift. And CNN spent plenty of time there to bring you this special coverage. Earlier I talked with Bethany Swain who helped put the series together.


BETHANY SWAIN, CNN PHOTOJOURNALIST: We are talking a lot about economy and jobs, right now. And it's a really important issue across the country and really across the world and this is the way they are finding different ways to make ends meet. And there a lot of segments of the economy that don't work nine to five and all of them have different stories and different ways of making ends meet and putting it all together and keeping themselves healthy. There lots of challenges when you're trying to sleep when the sun is up.


WHITFIELD: All right, that's what it took to put together this special. So, the challenges of keeping themselves healthy, that's another big problem. Dr. David Gross is a sleep specialist who joins us from Washington.

So Dr. Gross, good to see you. Is it tougher to stay healthy when you work at night or odd hours like that overnight?

DR DAVID GROSS, SLEEP SPECIALIST: Well, shift workers have several documented health risks. They have more motor vehicle accidents, they have 40 percent increase in cardiovascular disease, they tend to exercise less, they tend to smoke more and three studies have shown that women who work nights have an increased risk of breast cancer.

WHITFIELD: Wow, so when you talk about these things, what are some of the common ailments that come with not getting enough sleep or perhaps eating poorly?

GROSS: Well, these people also have an increased rate of irritability, depression, and problems with interpersonal relationships. They're just sleepy all the time and there are hormonal effects that occur, because most of these people are also sleep-deprived. That's one of the main problems, they are not sleeping as much as other people.

WHITFIELD: So, how do you cope? How do you try to, I guess, turn the tables on that? How do you try to get those eight hours of sleep even if you are awake when most people are sleeping?

GROSS: Well, that's the key is that most shift workers sleep about 90 minutes less than other people and who, most of whom aren't sleeping enough already. So, making sleep a priority and not a luxury is very important. The sleep doesn't all have to be in one time. It can be broken up. Power napping is very important.

WHITFIELD: Oh, really? I thought breaking up your sleep really does not allow you to get its full rest.

GROSS: Well, apparently research is showing that it does work that way. For instance, there are countries like Spain where people always have taken sleep in two different segments and they have their siesta and as far as we know there's no detrimental effect to that. So, the main thing is sleep is important no matter which way you get it. Power naps either before the shift, during the shift if your employer allows it or on the way home, are all very helpful.

WHITFIELD: And now what about your diet? Drinking alcohol, drinking caffeinated drinks? How does it impact your overall health, especially when you're working the nightshift?

GROSS: Well, shift workers, some of them, tend to drink a lot of caffeine and the key is to stop drinking several hours before you go to bed. Alcohol is a really bad medicine to take in an effort to fall asleep because it leads to very disruptive sleep. The key is to try to get bright lights at work, wear sunglasses on the way home, make sure that your bedroom is really dark and quiet, use eyeshades and earplugs, if necessary. And have your family help you. Work with a schedule. It has to be a whole team affair with your family and friends to allow you to get enough sleep.

WHITFIELD: And so, on your off days, a lot of people might want to be kind of normal, you know, operate like most people do, but then you say maintain the same kind of sleep habits even on your off days?

GROSS: If that's possible. It's very difficult, you know, obviously, but this is always like being in jet lag. A shift worker always feels like he's in jet lag. He's never really in the right place and his internal hormones don't adapt very quickly on and off. And that's one of the reasons we have these health effects -- the melatonin cycle and the other hormones, like cortisone. So, the more you can keep to the same schedule, if possible, the less shift changes you make if you are rotating shift. And also, try to rotate from morning to evening to night if you have the choice is better than going in the other direction.

WHITFIELD: Dr. David Gross, thanks so much.

GROSS: Thank you.