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.

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:

  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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Shift work goes directly against what our bodies desire to do, and those that struggle with this may suffer from shift work sleep disorder (SWSD). — Shelby Harris Psy.D.

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?

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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.