How Does Shift Work Sleep Disorder Manifest, and How Can One Reduce its Effects?

Shift Work Sleep Disorder

People who work night shifts or other irregular hours are susceptible to shift work sleep disorder (SWSD). Insomnia and oversleeping are frequent signs of SWSD. The following advice for shift workers can help them manage this problem.

What is SWSD or shift work sleep disorder?

The sleep problem known as shift work sleep disorder (SWSD) frequently affects those who work irregular hours, such as those outside the conventional 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. workday. Shift work schedules throw off the traditional sleep routine for most people.

SWSD creates severe problems with falling asleep, remaining asleep, and sleeping when wanted, since it makes it difficult to transition to a changing sleep/wake cycle. The worker’s health, wellness, and security must recognize the signs of shift work syndrome and get therapy and possibly medication for shift work sleep disorder.

How does shift work sleep disorder (SWSD) manifest?

The most typical signs of SWSD are insomnia and excessive drowsiness. Other signs and symptoms may include fatigue, headaches, or trouble concentrating. Not all shift workers experience SWSD. Shift Work Sleep Disorder is thought to affect 15% to 45% of shift workers.

Shift work may harm your physical health. Getting the necessary amount of sleep can be very challenging. You can become ill more frequently as a result. It also makes it difficult for you to remain focused at work.

This can harm one’s performance and put them in harm’s way. Being exhausted raises the risk of sustaining an injury at work. When exhausted, even making the trip home from work is dangerous.

What effects does shift work sleep disorder (SWSD) have?

Increased possibility of:

  • Blunders at work and accidents.
  • Irritability or emotional issues.
  • Having trouble coping and having social problems.
  • Complaints about one’s health include gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and metabolic issues.
  • Reliance on alcohol.

What can one do to lessen SWSD’s effects?

Some people may use sleep aids, even though lifestyle changes are the most crucial element of healthy sleep. Some employees discover that medication for shift work sleep disorder significantly enhances the quality of their sleep, which is considered safe.

  • Keep a sleep journal to aid in identifying the issue and track its development over time.
  • Reduce the number of consecutive nights worked. The maximum number of night shift employees should be five or fewer, with days off in between. Shift employees should only work four consecutive shifts when working 12-hour shifts.
  • If possible, take more time off than 48 hours after a run of night work.
  • Avoid working long hours. Stay away from working long shifts and putting in a lot of overtime. Ensure you get enough rest and engage in family and social activities.
  • Avoid lengthy commutes because they can interfere with sleep.
  • Avoid shifts that rotate frequently. Working a rotating shift schedule is more challenging than working the same shift for an extended time.
  • Sleep sufficiently on days off. Create a timetable for your sleep, avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, and practice proper sleep hygiene. Start a night shift without being sleep-deprived.
  • Before or during the night shift, schedule a nap. Naps can increase night shift employees’ attentiveness.
  • Do not drive while fatigued. Take a power nap before any shift if you are too dizzy to go home or arrange another ride.

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About the Author: Dr. Arooba

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