Shift Work Sleep Disorder

Who is at risk for shift work sleep disorder?

An image with icons representing medical professionals, police officers, warehouse workers, and bartenders who suffer from shift work sleep disorder.

Workers who are required to work during normal sleeping hours are at high risk for shift work sleep disorder (SWSD). Any professions that require late night shifts, early morning shifts, or rotating shifts have high levels of workers that suffer from this disorder. 

Those who suffer from SWSD typically have the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty paying attention or concentrating
  • Memory impairment 
  • Irritability
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Behavioral problems
  • Reduced motivation
  • Higher risk of accidents

One study of 2,570 workers found that 10% of those working rotating or night schedules met criteria for SWSD. The study showed that health concerns may be aggravated by shift work. Workers identified as having SWSD had higher rates of ulcers, sleepiness-related accidents, absenteeism, depression, and missed family and social activities. It is also known that those with shift work have higher rates of cardiovascular disease and gastrointestinal disorders.

Treat your shift work sleep disorder with light therapy!

To adjust your circadian rhythm and sleep cycle for optimal performance, energy and brain function/alertness, use a light therapy device within 30-60 minutes of waking. This will adjust your sleep/wake clock naturally, and tells your brain that the sun is rising and it is time to wake up. 

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