Sleep And Working The Night Shift

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Non-traditional work hours are becoming more prevalent in a more globalized economy. As night shifts or graveyard shifts quickly become the workplace norms, it can be that you lack more than just time apart from social life or rays of sunshine.

Shift Work Sleep Disorder is a condition experienced by night shifters. As per expert Tina Waters, MD, she mentioned that people who work the “third shift” will have issues with their body’s cardiac rhythms. It affects the normal pulsing since the person is awake during the day because of its internal body clock. This is the traditional rhythm of the body. Even if the person is fatigued or super tired at day, he will not go to sleep until it’s time to sleep at night. His senses will keep him awake, which is not healthy when chronic.

This Disorder Is Very Dangerous To One’s Health.

As a preface, not all night shifters will develop shift work sleep disorder. However, if you find yourself having difficulty sleeping, you may want to consult your doctor. He will run some tests to make sure that you’re not affected by any other sleeping disorders like sleep apnea and narcolepsy.

People who lack sleep and who do it often will suffer from dangerous health problems. It should be addressed as early as possible since this prolonged habit can develop into more severe illnesses. Gastrointestinal and metabolic disorders like diabetes can emerge from lack of sleep. In more severe cases, it can even develop into heart disease. One example of how extreme this can get was on a study done with night shift nurses are subjects. In the end, it was ruled that because of their shift work sleep disorder, these nurses were prone to cancer and sterility.

There Are Ways To Prevent Shift Work Sleep Disorder.

For nurses, as stated in the example, it is not an option to change their professions just because of the night shift. Call center agents can also have this issue, or security guards and police officers who work at nights. But not all of them will have this disorder. Some will be able to cope and have a good night’s sleep. 

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Keep A Sleep Schedule.

Start a routine for sleep and enforce it. Provide yourself a more conducive environment for sleep (example; keeping the room dark, reducing background noise, or listening to calming sounds, and more). It’s also a good idea to keep a sleep diary to record how many hours of sleep you’ve achieved every night.

Go To Sleep Immediately After Working.

It helps to minimize your exposure to light for at least 30 minutes before sleeping as light is the primary factor that keeps people awake. Make the most of it by going to sleep immediately after work before sunrise.

Drink Lessen Caffeine.

Morning routines may need caffeine, but while working nights, consider reducing your caffeine intake within four hours before your shift ends.

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Establish Some Boundaries.

Inform people what time your sleep hours are and do not entertain them otherwise. Be strict in setting boundaries to leave you alone during sleeping hours to maximize rest. 

If these practices can not remedy your sleep disorder, consult your doctor on how to better address your sleep problems. Therapy, medication, or consultations can be provided to help you stave off more severe symptoms. 

 

 

 

How Negative Emotions Can Lead To Insomnia

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Lack of sleep can make you moody and cranky for the entire day. Since you did not get enough rest for the previous night, there is a high possibility that you will feel exhausted all throughout the day. You will lose focus on all the activities and tasks that you need to complete. At the same time, it can also result in having strained relationships with the people around you since you are more likely to become impatient. Because of all these things, it is essential for you to get the right amount of sleep every single night.

Continue reading “How Negative Emotions Can Lead To Insomnia”

Reducing Insomnia For Those Working The Night Shift

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Insomnia can be a by-product of night-shift work due to the demands of having to work during odd hours. A typical case would be like this – a person will operate starting at 11 in the evening, and then gets off at 7 in the morning. This would last for five days a week, and then, they are expected to have a “normal” sleep cycle on the weekends so that they could interact with their friends and family.

What people around them don’t understand is that this cycle of not sleeping at nights can lead to an inconsistent sleep cycle that leaves one feeling tired all the time. The body’s internal clock is unable to make adjustments and cannot adapt to the switching of rest and sleep between night and day activities. 

Your body is wired to function during the day and rest at night. This is its normal cycle. And so, if you have shift work, it will be contrary to the natural order of things. Prolonged night shift work can lead to some adverse effects; lack of proper sleep can decrease alertness during waking hours and lead to accidents, reduced efficiency at work, and increase the probability of stress. 

 

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Best Practices For Sleep Recovery

Regrettably, night shift work is a mandatory need in most professions, so it would be difficult to avoid. The best one can do to practice some habits that can reduce the adverse effects of shifting hours – here are some examples. 

  • Keep a practical schedule for sleep versus family time and socializing. Find time to sleep that will, in turn, maximize the time you can spend with family and friends. Keep this schedule consistent.
  • Be strict about your sleep schedule. Keep to a consistent time for sleep and stick with it. Every hour, on the hour, even on weekends or off days.
  • Plan your activities ahead of time, so they don’t cross your sleep schedule. You may need to find night time options for otherwise day time activities like going to a bank or seeing a 24/7 grocery store. 
  • Try to sleep in one long stretch instead of sleeping sporadically and napping in off-hours. 
  • Maintain a pleasant sleeping environment by minimizing noise disturbances like phones, doorbells, and TVs. You may also consider getting a white-noise machine or using soft ear-plugs.
  • Keep your room dark by blocking out sunlight or using shades. Exposure to light is the prime factor that signals our bodies to wake, so it’s integral to have precautions to address this. The bright-light machine that’s used for the treatment of seasonal affective disorder can also be helpful for your awake hours. 

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These are just some examples on how to get some good night’s sleep if you work the night shift. It may work for you if your situation or issues is not that extreme. However, for people with a severe case of insomnia, seek out a medical professional’s help for consultation. It can be shift work sleep disorder. With this problem, you might require a sleep therapy program or some medication to help you with your severe sleep problem.

Is Coffee Keeping You Up All Night?

Drinking coffee is probably one of the things that you enjoy doing every day. Having caffeine in your system can make you more productive for a given day. However, there are times when you wish coffee has no effects at all especially if you are trying to get a good sleep. Worry no more since you can still sleep soundly at night without giving up coffee.

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Continue reading “Is Coffee Keeping You Up All Night?”

Tests And Assessments for Shift Work Sleep Disorder

It’s best to consult your doctor or physician if you think you have shift work sleep disorder. Your health history would be reviewed, and the doctor may ask questions regarding your symptoms and sleep patterns. He may also use some of these instruments to get an overview of your problem better.

The following instruments are:

  1. Sleep Diary. Before seeing your doctor, for at least two weeks, you have to record your sleep everyday pattern. The information gathered will help determine if a disorder causes your issues or not.
  2. Sleepiness Scales. Your doctor will determine if you may be experiencing an extreme level of sleepiness by asking questions regarding the level of drowsiness during periods that you wish to stay awake.
  3. Sleep Studies. You may be asked to undergo a non-invasive examination, a sleep study (Polysomnography), that take note of somebody functions while sleeping, like brain waves, heart rate, oxygen level, etc., if your doctor thinks that there is an underlying sleep disorder for your symptoms. These are conducted overnight in a lab or at home.

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Questions Your Doctor Will Ask You If You’re Showing Signs Of Shift Work Sleep Disorder

Your doctor may ask you the following during your consultation about sleep symptoms resulted from your shift schedule:

  • Medical history
  • Detailed symptoms on how long, how frequent, and how these signs interfere with your life
  • Your work schedule and sleep habits
  • Any history with other sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, and more

Your doctor will also talk to you and interview you about what you are feeling and experiencing. From there, and all the other tests are done, the medical expert will be able to diagnose if you have a disorder, or not.

You Need To Talk About These Things With Your Doctor

  • Could it be that my signs and symptoms are indicators of my night shift work? Yes or No? And Why?
  • How can I cope with this problem? If I have the disorder, how can I manage it? Can I make it go away? Will I be cured?
  • If I have a disorder, what is the best treatment available? Is this treatment applicable to me and my sleep disorder?

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Medication Safety & Shift Work Disorder

It’s essential to follow your doctor’s order if he put you under medication.

Medications may be useless and even make your sleep problem worse if not taken properly, and thus, you should take the proper dosage as prescribed.

Before a doctor put you on medication, they must know your health history, including those medications you’re currently taking. Drugs can have side effects, and it is essential to know about it and record any changes.

It is essential to understand the body still needs enough sleep to function, and those medications do not make up for the absence of sleep.

Thus, even if you are on medication, make sure to also apply the behavioral change for long-term healthy sleep, because these medications are not a long-term solution but somewhat as a temporary approach to help improve your symptoms.

 

 

 

 

Sleep And Relationship: What’s The Connection?

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Do you ever wonder if your sleeping pattern can affect your relationship with your partner? Have you noticed how your mood changes when you have a good night sleep? If you answered yes to these questions, then this article is perfect for you. We have laid down some of the possible consequences that lack of sleep can do to your romantic or intimate relationships:

Continue reading “Sleep And Relationship: What’s The Connection?”

Shift Work Sleep Disorder Or Insomnia?

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People who have difficulty falling asleep, or remaining asleep for an extended period and as their bodies require may be suffering from shift work sleep disorder. Shift work sleep disorder can be similar to insomnia. The former is directly connected to a person’s employment schedule, while many sources cause the latter. In reality, it is more likely to have difficulty with one’s shift schedule.  

Did you have a good night’s sleep during those times wherein you didn’t work night shifts? Since your started working graveyard, did you have difficulty sleeping during the day, and usually end up not sleeping, or chronically lack sleep? If you answered yes to both questions, then, it’s a sure sign that your night shifts cause your sleep issues. 

Shift Work Sleep Disorder: Medical Treatments

If you have already tried the non-medical options (example; good sleeping habits, adjusting your sleep setting and schedule, and doing relaxation methods) and yet, symptoms persist, then, your doctor may suggest some medications.

Below are medications that could help you stay awake at work so that you could sleep during the day, which is what you need the most right now.

Alertness: Some prescriptions work by switching on the system that keeps your brain alerts, such as Armodafinil and Modafinil. 

Sleeping: Sleep aids, such as, benzodiazepines, non-benzodiazepine hypnotics, and certain antidepressants to momentarily help a shift worker who needs to sleep during odd hours. 

Ask your doctor which one suits you best, and if you have doubts, ask for the side effects of these medications on you.

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Shift Work Disorder: Non-Medical Treatments

In addition to non-medical options mentioned above, these options help improve job alertness and regulate your sleep.

Melatonin

A person’s body produces melatonin. It is a natural chemical that makes a person tired. The melatonin level changes throughout the day and night. If at night, you are exposed to light, it disrupts the natural melatonin production, which can result in disturbed sleep and many health-related problems. If you need to alter to an odd schedule, consuming melatonin may help “reset” your body clock.

Light Therapy

For your body clock, light is a powerful indicator. It affects your wake/sleep pattern with its alerting effect and gradually shifting your sleep pattern depending on the schedule of light exposure. This help establishes a healthier sleep or wake pattern based on your needs. This is prescribed as a way to help you change your sleep patterns to improve work alertness and productivity, but the extent of light therapy and timing should be appropriately determined. 

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Caffeine

This is a good source of alertness and productivity during shift. It has been found that caffeine even as low as 200mg improve attentiveness for those who like to be awake during the night. Caffeine consumption after a nap is beneficial, and it remains in your system for hours, so make sure to minimize caffeine intake as your shift ends.

A person needs to sleep at least seven hours each day, straight and nonstop. This is the time when our bodies are recuperating, and sleep restores the balance. If you are not sleeping right because of your shift at work, then, you will have to find a way to sleep during the day without disruption. As to how you will do that, if you are having problems, ask help from a medical professional.