Is Shift Work Disorder Affecting Your Sleep?


shift work disorder signs

Shift work disorder has been around for decades, if not centuries, but it has only recently received an actual name to define the problem. It is what happens to a person who works rotating shifts or who works nights and, therefore, suffers from poor sleep. This can also make it difficult to be able to stay awake and alert throughout the length of the shift because they simply have not been getting enough rest.

Many people struggle to be able to sleep during the day or to adapt to continually changing work hours and still get the rest they need within the schedule that is available to them. The result is shift work disorder.

In fact, those who suffer from shift work disorder may actually get some sleep but feel as though they have never caught up and never feel well rested. The reason is that it continually interrupts the circadian rhythm, that is, the body’s natural waking and sleeping cycle.

There are many factors that play a role in that cycle. These include exposure to light and dark, the ability to wake and sleep at the same time every day, and the ability to keep up with a regular bedtime routine. When your work schedule simply doesn’t let you sleep at the same time every night when it’s dark, and wake at the same time every day when it’s light, it becomes very challenging to be able to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm.

Knowing whether or not you have this condition will likely involve a trip to the doctor’s office. You may be asked to use a sleep journal and you may have your sleep studied in order to determine whether it is your shift working schedule that is the culprit behind your insomnia and fatigue. You will also be asked about the hours you’re working, when you’re sleeping, the amount of sleep you’re able to obtain and the way you feel upon waking. You will also likely be asked about how you feel during the rest of the day and whether or not you feel sleepy – or have fallen asleep – on the job.

This disorder can have a considerable and increasing impact on your health, so it is important to speak with a doctor if you think you may be affected. There are ways to work around it and to improve your rest under these lifestyle and working conditions.

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