Shift Work Sleep Disorder Management and Treatment

Shift Work Sleep Disorder Management and Treatment - SF


Shift work sleep disorder (SWSD)

Shift work disorder may be a sleeping disorder that affects the people who work in non-traditional hours, outside the typical working hours, i.e., 9am-5pm. Working outside this regular 8 hours of window can disrupt the internal clock of many people and may interfere with the circadian rhythm. This disorder causes a lot of problems in adjusting with an odd wake/sleep schedule. This non-rhythmic sleep schedule can result in various issues in staying asleep, falling asleep, and sleeping at desired times.

It usually occurs in people who work at odd hours like early morning shifts, split shifts, rotating shifts, and graveyard shifts. The common symptoms of SWSD are lack of refreshing sleep, excessive sleeping, and drowsiness. These signs will influence leisure in addition because of the work. A disruptive biological clock or circadian rhythms can affect:

  • Alertness
  • Sleepiness
  • Hormone levels
  • Body temperature
  • hunger


Studies show that 40% of people who work in shifts suffer from SWSD. Those who work in the regular 9-5 shift are not much prone to this disorder. However, not every person who works in shifts may suffer from this disorder. Many shift workers have a modified circadian rhythm that makes them stay awake at night, thus night owls can avoid this disorder.


Symptoms and signs of shift work sleep disorder (SWSD)

The most common signs and symptoms of shift work sleep disorder are:

  • lack of energy
  • sleeplessness
  • excessive sleepiness

Other symptoms are:

  • headache
  • difficulty in concentrating
  • insomnia
  • depression
  • not refreshing sleep
  • moodiness
  • troubles in relationship

Sleep deprivation is incredibly dangerous and it will increase the probabilities of falling asleep whilst driving or making mistakes on the job. It can impact your health, proper digestive function, as well as heart health. It will even increase the probabilities of developing cancer. Feminine employees and elderly employees square measure at a better level of risk to develop.

Sleepiness can be responsible for many dangerous work scenarios. The Chernobyl disasterTrusted Source, the Exxon spill on the Alaskan coast, and Pennsylvania’s nuclear power plant disasterTrusted Source are partly believed to be the aftereffects of sleep deprivation. The signs of shift work sleep disorder must not be taken lightly. It can cause accidents at work or off –work if not handled properly.

The undesirable consequences of shift work sleep disorder (SWSD)

The major consequences of shift work sleep disorder are:

  • Mishaps and errors at job
  • Mood problems and irritability
  • Poor social function and impaired coping skills
  • Health-related issues- such as metabolic problems, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal
  • Alcohol dependency
  • Drug abuse

Dealing with shift work sleep disorder (SWSD)

Most people who suffer from shift work sleep disorder sleep for one to four hours or less as compared to the non-shift workers. It is a requirement to sleep for seven to eight hours on a daily basis. Shift employees should be willing to prioritize their sleep therefore on have a healthy sleep routine.

People do not work in 9-5 slab should find a way to complete their eight hours of sleep even if it is not during the night. They can manage to get a refreshing sleep using the following tricks:


  • Exposure to daylight on returning home from workplace therefore on keep from the morning sunlight, which may activate the internal “daytime clock”.
  • Follow proper bedtime rituals and try to maintain a regular sleeping pattern on weekends and day offs.
  • When you are at home, ask your friends and family to create a dark, quiet and peaceful environment so you may sleep.
  • Ask your friends and family to use headphones while watching TV or listening to music.
  • Ask your family members to avoid noisy activities like dishwashing, vacuuming, or any other noisy activity.
  • Put a DND (Do not disturb) signboard on the front door of your room so as to let the people know that you are sleeping. It will prevent them from knocking the door, ringing the bell or waking you up.

Decreasing the effects of SWSD

  • Try to maintain a sleep directory that helps you to track the problem as well as note down the progress over time.
  • if potential, attempt to avoid night shifts unendingly during a row. folks that work throughout late night shifts sometimes sleep for 5 hours or less time. scale back the night shifts to four or less and even take a day off in between. For, twelve-hour shift workers, night shifts should not exceed three to four in a row.
  • After a chain of night shifts, give your body relaxing 48 hours to recover.
  • Avoid operating for long hours. Do not work for prolonged shifts and do not overexert by working overtime. Try and pay time with friends and family and refresh yourself.
  • Stop partaking in activities that interfere in your correct sleep schedule.
  • Avoid rotating work shifts. It makes coping up with a new schedule more difficult and messes with your sleeping pattern.
  • On day offs from work, try and get enough sleep. Make it a habit to plan and arrange your sleeping schedules. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Do not deprive your body of the sleep it has to operate properly.
  • Plan a sleep previous or throughout night shift. It’ll improve your alertness and vigilance throughout the shift.
  • Avoid exploitation of medicines or substances that promote wakefulness. This medication is also useful to keep you awake in shift however; they will mess up with your sleep.

Treating SWSD

In order to treat swsd, the most important thing is to change your lifestyle. Eat healthily, exercise regularly and give yourself the proper hours of sleep it requires. You can conjointly look for facilitate from some over the counter medication. You can use Modalert modafinil to stay vigilant at work. Sedatives and hypnotics can also aid sleep. However, they must be used just for a brief span of your time.

Try to improve the quality of sleep by blocking out any disruptions that hinder your proper sleep. Keep away from distractions like the TV, using a phone before bed. Use some calming music, white noise machine, or earplugs to reduce the background noise.


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