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.
Shift work refers to any job that falls outside of a more “traditional” nine to five work schedule, affecting most people who start work before 6:30 a.m. or after 4:30 p.m. — Shelby Harris Psy.D.
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.
…many nurses go without sleep for 24-hours in order to adjust to their late-night shifts. — Michael J Breus Ph.D.
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.
In addition to the common sources of caffeine (e.g., coffee, soda, and energy drinks), we also need to consider hidden sources. — Lauren Woolley, PhD
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.