Who Is At Risk For Shift Work Sleep Disorder
If all those effects on the body sound scary, dont worry. Not everyone who works night shifts or rotating shifts develops SWSD.
The people at highest risk for developing shift work sleep disorder are those with stress-related sleep issues and those who are more sensitive to their natural sleep-wake cycle .
People may also have a genetic predisposition for the morning or the night . So, if you know youre more of a morning person, its a good idea to move your shifts to the daytime if you can. People with work shifts that conflict with their innate preferred time may be at greater risk of developing SWSD .
Older adults and women are also at higher risk for being diagnosed with shift work sleep disorder .
When people sleep at unusual times like during the day, their sleep quality may suffer because of external factors that are more common in the daytime. Outside noise, bright light from the sun, and family obligations during the hours when you need to sleep can all interrupt your attempts to fall and stay asleep.
Shift Work Sleep Disorder
What is shift work sleep disorder?
Shift work sleep disorder occurs in individuals who work nontraditional hours like split shift, graveyard shifts, early morning shifts, or rotating shifts. Its characterized by excessive sleepiness, lack of refreshing sleep, and drowsiness. These symptoms can affect both work and leisure time.
The nontraditional work schedule can disrupt a persons circadian rhythm, or biological clock. It regulates wakefulness and sleepiness at relatively set times throughout the 24-hour day. The circadian rhythm can have frustrating symptoms when its been thrown off, since it affects:
- hormone levels
The Cleveland Clinic estimates that between 10 to 40 percent of shift workers experience SWSD. Those who have regularly shifting schedules are most likely to be affected.
However, not everyone who works a nontraditional shift experiences SWSD. Many people who work these shifts have circadian rhythms that make them natural night owls, and theyre able to avoid the disorder.
SWSD is a chronic, or long-term, condition. The symptoms often impact your everyday life. You may experience many of the following symptoms:
- excessive sleepiness, both on and off the job
- difficulty concentrating
- insomnia that prevents you from getting adequate sleep
- sleep that feels incomplete or not refreshing
- depression or moodiness
- trouble with relationships
Sleepiness can create dangerous work conditions. Its believed to be partly responsible for the
Working Shifts: 9 Tips For Better Sleep
If your job requires that you work the night shift or hours other than the traditional 9 to 5, you need to pay close attention to your sleep. These tips can help you get good sleep:
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Symptoms Of Shift Work Sleep Disorder
Thanks to their schedule, a shift worker may face a number of symptoms that can be associated with other sleep disorders, as well as a lack of adequate sleep. Some of these may include:
- Disturbed sleep, including difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Poor sleep quality or short sleep duration
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating
- Lack of energy
- Poor mood
People who work night shifts are often fighting against their circadian rhythms as well, which can cause its own set of problems.
Summary: Shift Work Medication Review What Should You Be Taking
Irrespective of the medication, you should consult a doctor before consuming an aid to assist with shift work.
While medications have been proven effective in many cases, they should only be used for a short period of time until you are able to sleep naturally.
Also dont forget, taking medications are not your only option and there are natural remedies available.
Dig deep into finding the cause of your shift work problems and dont be afraid to try new methods.
Us shift workers need to put in a little more work with managing our roster than a 9-5 counterpart, but its definitely possible to live a happy and healthy life.
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How Is Shift Work Sleep Disorder Diagnosed
Your doctor will use diagnostic criteria to determine whether you have SWSD. They may use the International Classification of Sleep Disorders, the newest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or both.
Your doctor will likely ask you a series of questions about your sleep patterns and disturbances as well as what sort of shift you currently work. They may ask you for a sleep diary that covers at least seven days. Youll also likely be asked about your medical history and any current medications.
Since SWSD can mimic other sleep disorders, your doctor might first rule out conditions such as narcolepsy and obstructive sleep apnea. They might order a sleep study to rule out these, or other, sleep disorders.
During the sleep study, youll sleep in a clinic overnight with monitors that may be placed on your finger, chest, or face. These monitors will evaluate things like:
- sleep quality
- Take over-the-counter melatonin.
- Purchase a light box for light therapy to expose your eyes to extremely bright but safe light before work.
- Take a 30- to 60-minute nap right before your shift.
If you work for a company that regularly employs nontraditional shift workers such as 24-hour factories, hospitals, or police departments your employer may wish to implement their own aids to keep their workers safe. This may include keeping the workplace cool and bright to increase alertness.
What Is Shift Work Sleep Disorder
Shift work sleep disorder is a sleep disorder that commonly affects those who work non-traditional hours, outside the typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. work day. Shift work schedules go against most peoples internal body clocks or circadian rhythms. SWSD causes difficulties adjusting to a different sleep/wake schedule, which results in significant issues with falling asleep, staying asleep, and sleeping when desired. About 20% of the fulltime workforce in the United States is involved in some form of shift work.
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How Should I Take Provigil
Take Provigil exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Modafinil may be habit-forming. Never share Provigil with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it. Selling or giving away this medicine is against the law.
Provigil is usually taken each morning to prevent daytime sleepiness, or 1 hour before the start of a work shift to treat work-time sleep disorders.
Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
You may take the tablet with or without food.
Provigil is usually given for 12 weeks or less.
If you are taking Provigil to treat sleepiness caused by obstructive sleep apnea, you may also be treated with a continuous positive airway pressure machine. This machine is an air pump connected to a mask that gently blows pressurized air into your nose while you sleep. The pump does not breathe for you, but the gentle force of air helps keep your airway open to prevent obstruction.
Do not stop using your CPAP machine during sleep unless your doctor tells you to. The combination of treatment with CPAP and Provigil may be necessary to best treat your condition.
Taking Provigil does not take the place of getting enough sleep.
Sleeping Against The Clock
A main challenge of shift work is that it forces you to sleep against the clock. You have an internal body clock in your brain that produces circadian rhythms. The word “circadian” means to occur in a cycle of about 24 hours. These rhythms act like “messages” that regulate various body functions. They influence such things as the following:
- Body temperature
- Hormone Levels
Your body clock uses these rhythms to signal to you when it is time to go to sleep or to wake up. This tends to occur at regular times every day. Among other factors, your clock is “set” by your exposure to sunlight. This keeps the clock’s timing close to the night/day cycle. In most adults, circadian rhythms cause your level of sleepiness to peak from aboutmidnight to 7 am. They can also make you mildly sleepy in the mid-afternoon between 1 pm and 4 pm. If you work at night, you must fight your body’s natural rhythms to try and stay awake. Then you have to try to sleep during the day when your body expects to be alert.
Some researchers think that it may take as long as three years to adjust to a shift work schedule. Others believe that you will never fully adjust to an unusual sleep/wake pattern. Even if this is the case, you can make the best of a bad situation to sleep better.
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Complications Of Sleep Disorder
If left untreated, shift work disorder can lead to serious complications, including:
Some people experience fewer symptoms of the disorder after transitioning to a more conventional work shift. However, insomnia symptoms may persist after changing schedules, and this can warrant a separate diagnosis for chronic insomnia disorder.
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How Can I Decrease The Effects Of Swsd
- Avoid extended work hours. Avoid working prolonged shifts and putting in excessive overtime. Make sure you have time to sleep and participate in family and social activities.
- Avoid long commutes, which can take time away from sleeping.
- Avoid frequently rotating shifts. It is more difficult to deal with rotating shifts than it is to work the same shift for a longer period of time.
- Get enough sleep on your days off. Practice good sleep hygiene by planning and arranging a sleep schedule and by avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.
- Do not start a night shift with sleep deprivation.
- Caffeine and prescription wake promoting drug such as modafinil have some role in promoting wakefulness during work hours. But the best strategy is to get adequate sleep.
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Maintain A Consistent Sleep Schedule
It might be hard to get yourself in the groove, but following a consistent sleep schedule is one of the best things you can do for good sleep. This is especially true if you work while others are sleeping.
The key is going to bed at the same time every night/day, and waking up at the same time the following day. If youre not sure what your ideal bedtime is according to your sleep schedule, check out my sleep calculator.
Its also a good idea to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large meals at least a few hours before bedtime. You dont want your body to be working overtime while youre trying to sleep.
Avoid Working Extended Hours
Avoid working prolonged shifts and putting in excessive overtime. Make time for sleep so you can participate in life fully.
The above techniques can help cure this disorder and most of them are also snoring remedies. You need to work on fixing different aspects of your life to be able to have a permanent positive impact on your sleep and cure shift work sleep disorder.
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Rem Sleep Behavior Disorder: What Is It Causes Treatment
Your healthcare provider will also do a complete physical exam to see if your symptoms may be coming from an underlying physical or mental health problem, medication, or other factors. They may also check if you have another sleep disorder that mimics SWSD, like sleep apnea or narcolepsy .
Your healthcare provider will also do a complete physical exam to see if your symptoms are caused by an underlying physical or mental health problem, medication, or other factors. They may also check if you have another sleep disorder that mimics SWSD, like sleep apnea or narcolepsy .
They may ask you to keep a sleep diarya recording of sleep, sleeplessness, and activity every dayfor at least two weeks. They may order a sleep test where you will wear a tracking device on your wrist that measures your sleep and activity for two weeks or longer .
What Is Shift Work Sleep Disorder What Problems Can It Cause
Shift work sleep disorder is trouble sleeping because you work nights or rotating shifts. You also may have this problem if you have trouble staying awake or alert when you are supposed to work your shift. You may not be able to sleep during the day, and you may not feel rested with the sleep you do get.
Shift work sleep disorder involves a problem with your body’s 24-hour internal clock, or circadian rhythm. Light is a cue to be awake, while dark tells your body to sleep. When you work at night and sleep during the day, your body’s internal clock needs to reset to let you sleep during the day. Sometimes that’s hard to do.
This sleep disorder usually is a problem for people who work all night. But people who work an early morning shiftfor example, starting at 4 a.m.also may have sleep problems. Rotating shift work also can be hard. In these shifts, people work the day shift on some days and the night shift on others.
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How Is Shift Work Sleep Disorder Treated
While lifestyle changes are the most important component of healthy sleep, some may turn to sleep aids. Melatonin is considered safe, and some workers find that it greatly improves the quality of their sleep.
Modafinil is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a wake-promoting drug with a low abuse potential. Its shown to improve sleep and lessen morning-after sleepiness. In clinical trials , modafinil was also shown to reduce long-term memory impairment and improve memory acquisition.
To improve sleep quality as much as possible, try to block out disruptions. Try not to look at your phone or bright screens for an hour before bed. Use white noise machines, calming music, or ear plugs to drown out the background noise of the day.
Drug May Help Keep Night
Study: Provigil Eased but Didn’t Erase Shift Workers’ Sleep Woes
Provigil “reduced extreme sleepiness” and made a “small but significant” improvement in the workers’ job performance when compared with a fake drug , write the researchers in The New England Journal of Medicine.
“However, the residual sleepiness that was observed in the treated patients underscores the need for the development of interventions that are even more effective,” they write.
The study was sponsored by Cephalon, which makes Provigil. The researchers included Charles Czeisler, MD, PhD, of the sleep medicine divisions of Harvard Medical School and Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
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Shift Work And Associated Comorbidities
Shift work is associated with disturbed circadian rhythm, which isinvolved in the torrent of disturbed physiological and pathological mechanisms.This disruption is not only a risk factor for breast cancer, but can also be arisk factor for T2DM, obesity, hypertension, MetS, Cardiovascular Diseases, stroke, acute respiratory infections, gastrointestinal tract problems, menstrual problems, back pain, headaches, anxiety, mood disorders anddepression . Night shift workers are at a higher riskof hypertension . Inflammatory markers such as CReactive Protein and leukocyte counts are higher in shift workers and areassociated with CVD, atherosclerosis, stroke, and T2DM . Increased leukocyte count is one of the major risk factorsfor CVD, and ischemic stroke . Increase leukocyte count is a risk factor and also aprognostic factor for CVD . Working night shifts is a risk factor for poor diabetescontrol, as hemoglobin A1c is higher among night shift workers with T2DMcompared to working day shifts . Disturbed sleep, OSA and shift work are risk factorsfor T2DM and all patients with sleep problems should be screened for T2DM. Shift work isalso associated with a disturbed lipid profile, high triglycerides and low HDLlevels are often noticed among shift workers . High triglycerides, low HDL cholesterolfindings among shift workers are associated with MetS compared to non-shiftworkers .
Shift work, associated pathology and comorbidities.