Shift Work Disorder

What is Shift Work Disorder?

A shift work disorder occurs when people work nights, early morning, and rotating shifts.

Shift work disorder can cause insomnia, excessive sleepiness, and a diminished quality of life.

It’s very common that these workers get one to four hours less sleep than those who work a traditional schedule.

Shift workers have an increased risk of health problems such as obesity, digestive troubles, heart disease, and mental health issues.

Symptoms Of Shift Work Disorder

Shift Work Disrupts the Normal Sleep-Wake Cycle

Shift work disorder is a circadian rhythm disorder, Circadian rhythms coordinate various mental and physical systems throughout the human body and are based on a 24 hour clock.

Exposure to darkness tells your body to produce melatonin to promote sleep. Conversely, exposure to sunlight tells your body not to produce melatonin.

Shift work turns this sleep-wake cycle circadian rhythm upside down making it very difficult for workers to adjust.

Shift Workers are at Risk for Health Problems and Accidents

Shift workers have an increased risk of health problems such as digestive upsets, obesity, heart disease, insomnia, and accidents due to excessive daytime sleepiness.

One’s physical health will likely suffer. Work-related accidents and car accidents are common because one’s reaction time is altered due to exhaustion.

A sleep specialist can help you develop a plan that may include light therapy, instructions for sleep hygiene, and some lifestyle and safety strategies.

It’s estimated that 10% to 40% of shift
workers suffer from shift work disorder.

Seek help before your mental and physical health is affected.

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