If You Are Working In Shifts, Chances Are You Might Have Shift Work Disorder

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Thanks to the global corporate culture and MNCs, the trend of night shifts is going up. However, be it the night shifts or working in rotational shifts, no matter what we do, we just can’t concentrate on work. Sometimes even after sleeping for more than 8 hours, we feel drowsy and sleep deprived. While we feel sleepy at work, when we come home, we just can’t fall asleep.

This condition of feeling extremely sleepy or not getting sleep at all is called Shift Work Syndrome.

What is Shift Work Disorder

Shift Work Disorder, also known as Shift Work Sleep Disorder, is a condition that affects the mental health of the people when their work hours overlap with their sleep pattern.

Interestingly, our bodies have a circadian rhythm that oscillates constantly for 24 hours and functions as an internal clock. These circadian rhythms signal our body about when to sleep or stay alert. So when we start working in shifts, our bodies are unable to cope with the internal clock.

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However, this does not mean that all those who are working in shifts are suffering from this disorder. Most of us adjust our routine according to the shifts, but if you find it difficult to sleep or stay awake even after sleeping for nearly 10 hours, then you might be a victim of this condition.

Symptoms And Health Risks

The primary symptoms of this condition are insomnia and excessive sleepiness. Apart from these, people also face difficulty in concentrating on work, lack of energy, irritation, depression and difficulty in managing personal relations.

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In fact, due to excessive drowsiness and fatigue, you might expose yourself to work related injuries. Sometimes, we feel extremely sleepy while driving; this condition can be one of the reasons for it. Talking about the long run, people also suffer from high cholesterol, heart diseases and obesity.

Is There A Remedy?

Yes, there is a remedy for it. There are certain therapies that are available, but we advise you to visit a doctor and consult with them first.

Melatonin

Our bodies have a hormone called Melatonin that signals when our body is supposed to sleep. So there are certain melatonin supplements that are available for consumption that help us in getting better sleep.

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Bright Light

Ever wondered why do we sleep in dark, or have you ever thought about the day and night concept? So, the cycle of light and darkness act as an important time cue for the circadian rhythms to send signals. The bright light therapy helps in reinforcing our body clock by exposing them to artificial light in late evening.

Caffeine

It’s a known fact that caffeine helps in improving alertness. Guess what, drinking coffee and taking a few minutes nap before going to office, can actually help in reducing the drowsiness at work.

Here are some additional tips that can help you…

– If you are working in rotational shifts, then plan your sleep in advance. For instance, if you know that from next week your timings are going to change, then accordingly change your sleep pattern 3 to 4 days prior to it.

– Ask your manager if he or she can change your shift timing in a clockwise pattern.

– Before going to work, take a nap of 20 to 30 minutes to reduce sleepiness.

– If you are working in night shifts, either arrange for a cab or ask someone to pick you up

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