Sleep Guides for Shift Workers
Shift workers have work schedules that deviate from the traditional 9 to 5 jobs. They’re covering shifts that are 24 hours, overnight, or early in the morning. There are a variety of fields that need shift workers such as hospitals, airlines, the police force, firefighters and emergency services, security, retail, and more. According to WebMD, roughly 8.6 million people in the United States perform shift work, and these schedules can lead to shift worker disorder.
What Is Shift Work Disorder?
When workers aren’t able to sleep during “normal” hours, they often find it difficult to sleep when they need to because their circadian rhythm—the internal clock that controls your sleep/wake cycle—isn’t able to sync with the outside world due to their extended, abnormal work hours. This causes them to feel chronically drowsy when they’re awake, and alert when they’re trying to sleep. Shift work disorder can cause a wide range of symptoms including:
- Lack of Energy
- Excessive Drowsiness when Awake
- Unrefreshing Sleep
- Difficulty Focusing on Tasks
- & More
Health Problems Associated with Shift Work Disorder
Sleep problems can lead to a variety of health issues such as heart disease, ulcers, diabetes, obesity, gastrointestinal problems, and more. If you’re a shift worker and you’re struggling with sleep, it’s important to find something that works for you to improve your sleep before it negatively affects your mind and body health. In addition to the potential health risks, shift work disorder can also impair your performance at work. If you frequently experience severe drowsiness at work, you are more susceptible to making mistakes or getting injured at your job.