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.
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.
According to U.S. labor statistics, about 20 percent of the workforce, or about 19.7 million U.S. workers, are early risers who begin work between 2:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. — Michael J Breus Ph.D.
The following instruments are:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Creating a bedtime routine can play a vital role in getting good sleep. — Lauren Woolley, PhD
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?
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.
Bad habits breed many of our sleep problems. — Lauren Woolley, PhD
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.
Shift Work Disorder: Non-Medical Treatments
In addition to non-medical options mentioned above, these options help improve job alertness and regulate your sleep.
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.
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.
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.
It’s fairly common knowledge that research confirms getting enough restful sleep is an important part of staying healthy and operating at your best. Unfortunately, some adults find it difficult to sleep well, and many have fallen into patterns that are counterproductive to obtaining the best rest possible. — Megan MacCutcheon, LPC
Anyone who has visited a psychologist can attest that at least once, the expert mentioned the importance of having a healthy diet to the mind and the body. Psychologists would always say this again and again. A healthy diet, not just eating, is beneficial to both our physical and mental health aspects. Science and clinical research studies very much assist this fact.
Our needs may vary, but the vitamin and mineral levels mostly found in different natural types of food that we consume are almost identical to any human being. As such, doctors suggest that we consume at least 64 grams of protein a day or at least 8 milligrams of iron daily. The question now is, how are these dietary requirements even linked to our mental and physical aspects?
Psychologists have the following principal reasons:
Improves Our Figure
We are all aware that a balanced diet is key to a more fit and leaner you. If one is a calorie-conscious individual, he or she should opt for a greener diet. Some food will mask our hunger without the need to consume more calories and bad fat or cholesterol.
A healthy food table and greener everyday meals are always the first steps to condition the body and mind towards the start of balanced well-being. Let’s not forget that our physique is more often than not related to our mental aspect. It’s never a secret that most of us tend to focus on our shape. After all, our form or the way we see ourselves in the mirror has an impact on our self-confidence.
Reduces Risks Of Certain Diseases Or Illnesses
The physical shape should not always be our sole reason to mind the food we eat every day. Consumption of vegetables, fruits, and other natural or organic food is still the best prevention of diseases that each of us has a chance of getting. Research reports the positive impact of having a balanced meal in lowering our chances to heart diseases, cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, and bone problems, among others.
Psychologists would also suggest that we see a dietitian or a doctor to assess our nutrient needs and other dietary requirements. It’s essential that we take note of the minimum vitamin and nutrient requirements that we have to drink every day. Let us also remove the false notion that one single take of these vegetables and fruits would solve all our problems. Remember, the practice of eating healthy should become a habit.
Stopping caffeine use can help if you’re having trouble sleeping. If giving it up completely feels too intimidating, try limiting use to the morning or decreasing the amount (e.g., half-caffeinated coffee). — Lauren Woolley, PhD
Improves Our Mood And Emotions
Having a healthy diet does not stop at the physical benefits. When we are hungry and feeling blue, we eat, and it is undeniable that we feel better right after. Sweets have been proven to be beneficial to our everyday moods. Right consumption of such food or desserts (those with a high percentage of carbohydrates) can help our body and brain produce more serotonin. This chemical is known to contribute to our mental well-being positively.
There is also an interesting study showing that a perfectly balanced diet makes one seek outside activities and enjoy participating in such social gatherings. This fact is beneficial to the social development of children. Such study shows that kids consuming proper nutrients with the right hydrating patterns are friendlier than others.
Doctors, however, still warn us that we should be able to watch our sweet intakes and cholesterol levels. High consumption of sweets and other sugary food is clinically proven linked to high risks of depression and other mood disorders. Sweets and other sugary food are not always bad, but too much is a big no-no. We all know by now how much is too much anyway.
…just eat an ounce or so of animal protein or raw nuts and an ounce of a starchy carbohydrate just before going to sleep. Do this for several nights before determining efficacy. — Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, NTP
Promotes Positive Thinking
There is particular food that science says are capable of boosting our positive thinking skills. There are studies linking probiotics to the decreased chances of having negative thoughts. Researchers, therefore, conclude that the consumption of these nutrients is an excellent preventive strategy against depression and other mood disorders.
Everyone should seek a balanced diet, not because of the physical benefits but also its considerable mental and emotional benefits. True enough, results are not attainable overnight, but let’s keep in mind that mental disorders are always ‘silent killers.’ We should not wait until it is already there.
It is very difficult to fall and stay asleep if you are very anxious, ruminate on stressful things that happened in the day, or fixate on things happening in the future. — Megan MacCutcheon, LPC
One of the worst illnesses that you can get is insomnia. It sucks not to get the right amount of sleep every night because you have a sleeping condition. Unfortunately, the presence of this disorder can cause adverse effects in your life, particularly on your productivity as well as mood swings. Whether you like it or not, there will be days when you are filled with stress and anxiety because you did not sleep well at night. Do not fret because there are several ways on how you can handle this situation.
Below are the smart ways that you may consider if you want to say goodbye to mood swings brought about by insomnia:
Drink Lots of Water
Lack of sleep can make you look and feel exhausted and tired for the entire day. As such, it is essential that you do something that can energize you. An excellent way of making this possible is to drink lots of water in the morning. If possible, drink at least two glasses of cold water as it will be sufficient to kick start your day. However, do not forget that you have to keep on drinking water throughout the day to sustain your energy.
Before you leave for the day, be sure to grab a bite for your breakfast. Do not go to your office without having something on your stomach. Otherwise, you will only end up anxious and stressed for the entire day. Once this happens, it can be expected that you will not feel good about yourself and everything around you. As a result, you may end up getting pissed off easily or annoyed by the quirks of your co-workers.
Talk To A Friend
The moment you realize that you already have mood swings, it is best to start a conversation with a good friend of yours. Make sure that this person is someone who can be funny and exciting to be around. Talk about why you are upset for that day so that your friend can comfort you. The mere act of talking about your insomnia to this individual can already be therapeutic on your part.
Enlisting the support of caring others, such a friends and family members, can be helpful when you’re trying to regulate your sleep. — Lauren Woolley, PhD
Be With The Right People
Insomnia can make you feel sad and down because you do not have the right amount of energy levels to get on for the day. As such, you may become unproductive in your work. To reverse this, all you have to do is to surround yourself with the right people in the office. Be with a group of friends who are there to motivate each other during the bad days. Just by being around them, you are already allowing yourself to relax. The more you do this, the lesser chance you have for acting moody.
Listen To Feel Good Songs
Another way of cheering yourself up is to listen to a playlist that is filled with feel-good songs or tracks. Have a playlist on your phone that is composed of songs that are uplifting or inspiring. Make sure to select the music with the right beat and tone. According to research, the music you listen to can affect the way you perceive your reality. As such, if you continue to listen to great songs, you will have a better chance of feeling happiness.
Indulge To Your Cravings
Not getting enough sleep for the night before can also increase your cravings for your favorite food. The best and ideal thing that you can do is to give in to these cravings every now and then. Take note that if you commit an error or fail to do this, you may end up feeling irritated. At the same time, you will also lose focus for the day because you would feel that something is missing. Hence, do not be afraid to give in to the food items that you want to eat on that day. However, it is suggested only to take small bites so as not to destroy your diet in one day.
If you believe that your insomnia is causing more than sleepless nights and mood swings, it is best to consult with a medical doctor or seek professional help from a licensed therapist. Take all the necessary steps for the treatment so that you can finally get a good night sleep.
Sometimes your anxieties can gnaw at you like a pebble in your shoe. Then the next thing you know they are keeping you awake at night. — Joseph Cardillo Ph.D.
Insomnia is a sleeping disorder that is sometimes correlated with social anxiety disorder. In layman’s term, insomnia is the condition wherein a person either has a hard time going to sleep or not having that enough sleep.
Do you always find yourself awake in the middle of the night? Is it hard to go back to sleep? Do you find it difficult to stop thinking about things that don’t entirely matter such as family and, relationship problems, or personal issues? Well, maybe that’s because you’re suffering from a sleep disorder. The condition allows your brain to function nonstop due to emotional disarray, stress, aging, or chronic disease.
Sleeping late at night is a typical scenario for someone who has so many things to complete before ending the day. However, once it becomes a regular habit, it is possible that you already have insomnia. Take note that insomnia is classified as a disorder that can affect your life in so many negative ways. Because of this, it is imperative on your part to find ideas on how you can beat it. Do not worry because we are going to share with you some tricks on how you can make this happen.
…accept that occasional ragged nights are the norm and most people can function quite well despite missing some sleep. — Clifford N. Lazarus Ph.D.
Here are the tips to remember:
Quit Your Vices
If you drink and smoke a lot, then now is the time to give them up if you want to experience a good night sleep on a regular basis. Eliminate the presence of cigarettes and alcoholic drinks in your life. These items contain substances and other components that can be harmful to your body. At the same time, they can also cause insomnia because they can reprogram your brain into thinking that you are not yet sleepy.
Stopping caffeine use can help if you’re having trouble sleeping. If giving it up completely feels too intimidating, try limiting use to the morning or decreasing the amount (e.g., half-caffeinated coffee). — Lauren Woolley, PhD
Do Not Drink Coffee In The Afternoon
Drinking coffee is not a bad thing as long as you know how to control it. As much as possible, avoid taking caffeine after twelve in the afternoon. Caffeine can stay in your system for hours, which means that if you drink coffee in the afternoon, you can still feel its effect even late at night. It is one of the reasons why your body won’t cooperate every time you want to have a sound rest or sleep.
Make Exercise A Daily Habit
Choosing to have a healthy lifestyle by engaging in physical activities can do wonders for your body. You will begin to see that there are several advantages of exercising, one of which is improving the quality of your sleep. As you continue to complete your daily exercises, you will begin to realize that your sleeping patterns are so much better than before. Nonetheless, experts recommend that workouts must be done in the morning instead of during nighttime just before your bedtime schedule.
Most of the time, she says she just gives up trying to go back to sleep and winds up checking her email or twitter account or surfing the Internet. — Joseph Cardillo Ph.D.
Keep Your Gadgets Away
When you are going to sleep, make sure to put your devices or gadgets away. Do not be fooled in just checking your News Feed or emails for five minutes or as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the five minutes usually turns into thirty minutes or even up to one hour, depending on the activity that you will do online. You will keep on scrolling endlessly until you realize that all your time was spent for nothing. Create a rule in your room that no phones or tablets are allowed in your bed during nighttime. Just store them in your bedside table.
With all these four tips, you can already beat insomnia. Take note that the results may vary from one person to another. The best thing to do is to apply them in your life to solve the dilemma. Use these tips to get better and more relaxing sleep at night.
Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD triggers dysfunctional brain development. It is a mental health condition that occurs when a person experiences or witnesses a horrifying life incident. Symptoms of PTSD may include a series of nightmares, severe anxiety, event flashbacks, panic attacks, and insomnia.
If you feel flooded with negative thoughts, get out a pen and paper and write three to five things you’re grateful for. — Katie DiMuzio, LCSW
According to experts, physical and psychological trauma can negatively impact sleep. Factors like PTSD further complicate the condition of sleeplessness that leads to insomnia – the difficulty of falling asleep or staying asleep. This condition can be characterized as chronic or acute insomnia based on its duration. Acute insomnia is brief, and most people may have experienced this type of insomnia in their lifetime. It is a type of condition that may resolve itself without the aid of any medication.
On the other hand, chronic insomnia is a disruptive sleep disorder that occurs every three nights per week and lasts for about two to three months. Sometimes, it goes on for years in several severe cases. Its extensiveness creates emotional and psychological dysfunction. That is why there’s a need for medical attention to address the patient’s sleeping pattern.
An unfortunate event may trigger the primary symptoms of PTSD. The effects might linger for months or longer if not adequately treated. Though its disruption that occurs in sleeping sessions may vary from one person to another, its long-term effect still causes damage to the brain. The hyperarousal may result in paranoia and extreme hypervigilance as well. One example of this is being afraid of attackers even inside the comfort of your room or being alerted by slight movements and weak sound in the surrounding. This condition strengthens anxiety that leads to the buildup of persistent insomnia.
Yoga nidra, Sanskrit for yogic sleep, is different from other guided meditations in that it not only directs your attention to your body, it uses special breathing techniques and rotates you back and forth from one hemisphere of the brain to the other. — Nicole S. Urdang, MS, NCC, DHM
What You Should Know
To deal with PTSD, some people use alcohol to cope with their distress. However, according to experts, alcohol usage results in disrupted breathing during sleep. It is usually manifested as sleep apnea, one of the most common sleeping disorders. In this state, people find themselves waking up more frequently during the night. Some of them have trouble falling back to sleep as well. Because of the sleep problem, some patients with PTSD develop fear in going to sleep. They experience the same traumatic feeling as soon as they go to bed. The condition eventually triggers mental dysfunction which leads to more medical problems different from the current lingering state.
People who have PTSD are known to experience sleeping problems because their brain works twice as active as the usual. According to studies, the condition gets affected by certain factors that won’t let the brain rest and relax. These factors are anxiety, overthinking, addiction and depression.
In therapy, you have a chance to talk through/process some of these experiences (e.g. being bullied, experiencing trauma, physical, verbal, or emotional abuse). — Meredith Brown, LCSW
The connection between post-traumatic stress disorder and insomnia is very clear. So if symptoms continue longer than three months, there’s an absolute need for medical attention. Medications and therapy are required to avoid reaching a more chronic condition. Since the mental illness causes a lot of problems and affects all areas of a person’s overall function, an immediate diagnosis is a top priority.