What Is Shift Work Disorder?
Shift work disorder arises when you have trouble adjusting to your work schedule’s wake and sleep periods. You may, for example, be required to work at a time when the majority of people are sleeping. Early morning shifts can also be challenging because you must fall asleep before your body is ready. When you have shift work disorder, your body’s circadian rhythms and your work schedule are at odds. You may have to go to work while your body is screaming for a nap. Your body then expects you to be awake when you need to sleep.
Shift workers may sleep up to four hours less every night than the average worker. You may have difficulty sleeping or be exhausted due to shift work disorder. You may be tired or have difficulty concentrating. This can hurt your work performance and put you at risk of making a costly mistake or becoming harmed on the job. Shift workers aren’t all affected by shift work disorders. Many people have trouble adjusting to a new shift at first if you’re still having trouble falling asleep after a few weeks.
Diagnosis Of Shift Work
If you suspect you might have a shift disorder, consider the following:
- Do you have a schedule that forces you to work when you should be sleeping?
- Do you have difficulties sleeping, or are you constantly exhausted due to your job schedule?
- Have you been having sleep problems at work for at least a month?
- Is this issue affecting your social, family, or professional life?
Symptoms Of Shift Work Disorder
- DAYTIME SLEEPINESS
People with shift work disorder experience excessive daytime sleepiness and recurring episodes of insomnia. They must have these symptoms for a month to diagnose the condition. Symptoms may vary from person to person, and the severity of the symptoms will depend on the type of shift you are working. Some people can adapt to working night shifts, while others may struggle with daytime sleepiness.
Insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness are typical symptoms of shift work disorder. The symptoms must occur for at least a month for the disorder to be categorized as a shift work disorder. They can vary significantly according to the type of shifts a person works, and they can even vary from one person to another. As the symptoms of shift work disorder progress, it may be necessary to take medications. A mattress should provide significant support for better sleep.
- SUBSTANCE ABUSE OR OTHER ILLNESS
A doctor can diagnose shift work disorder if you experience significant insomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness during the workday. Your symptoms should also coincide with your regular sleep time. Unlike other forms of insomnia, which are often caused by medical or neurological conditions, shift work disorder cannot be attributed to other underlying problems. In addition, your symptoms should not be related to substance abuse or other illnesses. Moreover, your doctors can also rule out other causes of insomnia or sleepiness.
Treatment For Shift Work Disorder
To help alleviate the effects of shift work disorder, your doctor may prescribe medications that help you fall asleep and stay awake at night. Stimulant medications can be taken to improve sleep, such as Nuvigil and Provigil. Other medicines may be prescribed to improve your ability to stay awake during the day. Some people also use antidepressants or benzodiazepines to help them sleep at night. The treatment options are varied, but you should follow a few basic steps. A person who is suffering from sleep disorder should consider standard mattress size.
- IMPROVE SLEEP HABITS
One of the first steps in treating shift work disorders is to improve your sleeping habits. Blackout curtains can prevent sunlight from entering your room while you are sleeping, while earbuds can block out noise during the day. To help you stay awake, you can use earbuds or a sleep mask to block light while sleeping. A doctor can also examine your physical health to find out the best treatment for your situation.
- SLEEP AID
If the symptoms of shift work disorder affect your quality of life, your doctor will prescribe a medication to treat your symptoms. Sleeping aid can help you get the rest you need during the day. Moreover, if you experience insomnia, you can try wearing a hat or wraparound sunglasses to block out sunlight during your commute. If you suffer from this disorder, you should also try to get seven to nine hours of sleep daily.
- SLEEP AID MEDICATION
In addition to taking a sleep aid, you can also use a sleep aid medication. This medication contains melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleeping cycle. If you cannot sleep or cannot get enough rest during the day, your doctor can prescribe melatonin supplements. Aside from these, you can try other measures to improve your quality of life.
Risks Of Shift Work Disorder
- People with shift work disorders are at risk of developing depression.
- They may also experience mood swings, become impatient and irritable, and have difficulty coping with problems.
- They may avoid interacting with co-workers and socialize less during the day than at work.
- Additionally, people with shift work disorders are more likely to develop depression than other workers.
- Their reduced ability to concentrate and recall information could contribute to poor performance at work and cost employers money.
- Shift work disorder can also result in substance abuse.
Despite these symptoms, not everyone who works on shifts has a shift work disorder. While many people may have problems adjusting to a new schedule, others may have trouble sleeping, especially when the shift is different from their average sleep time. A shift work disorder doctor can prescribe a sleep aid medication for these people. In addition to melatonin, your doctor may prescribe a supplement to boost the levels of this hormone in your body.