What is Shift Work Sleep Disorder?
Workers who work irregular hours and who regularly shift shifts may have shift work sleep disorder (SWSD). This is a type of sleep disorder that affects individuals’ ability to stay asleep and rest during their non-standard work shift.
Shift work sleep disorder is characterized by sleepiness during the day that interferes with work, social life, and leisure activities. Shift work sleep disorder symptoms include drowsiness, fatigue, headaches, difficulty concentrating, and more. It can also cause accidents and have a negative impact on workplace performance. It can also increase the risk of cardiovascular, diabetes, and ulcers disorders. It is recommended that people get a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep each day.
Most people have a normal circadian rhythm. These rhythms help us know when we should be awake and alert. Our body produces melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep cycles. We are naturally “night owls”, meaning that we get a better night’s sleep at night than during the day. However, many people who work irregular hours find it difficult to adjust their internal clock to a new schedule. Some people can adapt to a new schedule and do not suffer from SWSD.
Several factors contribute to sleep disturbances. These include work shifts, environmental factors, and other factors. The timing of the work shift also affects sleep. Many people have the tendency to wake up too early or have difficulty staying asleep during their work shift.
Researchers have found that people who work shifts are at an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. This is because the work shift schedule interferes with their natural circadian rhythm.
In order to diagnose shift work sleep disorder, doctors will look at your breathing, heartbeat, and other signs of sleepiness. They may also conduct an actigraphy test. This test involves wearing an activity tracker on your wrist and monitoring your movement throughout the day. This test helps your doctor determine when you are awake, sleeping, and resting.
Symptoms of shift work sleep disorder can persist even after you adjust to a new work schedule. It can be difficult to get rid of the symptoms of SWSD, but with treatment, some people experience improvement. Some patients may be able to get a better night’s sleep. Getting adequate rest will help your body and mind get back on track.
Many people who work shifts can adjust their sleep schedules. They can also increase the intensity of the light they receive during their work shift, or they can wear dark glasses. Wearing dark glasses can help trick your body’s biological clock into thinking you are sleeping during the day.
Shift workers who are experiencing symptoms of SWSD should contact their doctor immediately for diagnosis and sleep disorder treatment based on their sleep condition.