How to Prevent Shift Work Disorder

Do You Work Crazy Hours?

This week, you are working 8 to 4. But, next week they have you on overnights. And, you’ll probably pick up a double over the holiday weekend. Sound like a familiar scenario? You may be at risk for a common sleep problem known as shift work disorder.

What Is Shift Work Disorder

Shift work disorder is a sleep disorder that can occur when erratic or unusual hours prevent you from keeping a regular schedule. Those who work second or third shift must often sleep when the sun is up; those on rotating schedules never get the chance to settle into a regular circadian rhythm.
Untreated shift work disorder can damage your health in a number of ways. Acute and chronic risks include:the must have MATTRESS BUYING GUIDE

  • Irritability. This can damage your personal well-being and also put a strain on your relationships.
  • Fatigue and lack of alertness. This can be dangerous when driving or operating heavy machinery at work.
  • Memory issues.
  • Increased cholesterol levels.
  • Increased risk of obesity.
  • Higher incidents of cold and flu as your immune system is affected.
  • Increased risk of breast or prostate cancer.
  • Increased risk of heart attack.

Protecting Yourself from Shift Work Disorder

If you are unable to adjust your working schedule, there are ways that you can keep your circadian rhythms more regular and get better quality sleep:

  • Take naps during breaks at work if you can. Even a 15 minute nap can help refresh you and prevent fatigue.
  • Keep your bedroom dark when it is time to sleep. You can buy eye masks or blackout curtains to prevent daylight from keeping you awake.
  • Manage electronics in the bedroom. Opt for a clock with a dim display. Unplug phones, speakers, computers and other items that have glowing indicators that can brighten your room.
  • Keep your bedroom cool at night. Experts say that 65 degrees is ideal.
  • Exercise regularly to promote healthy sleep.
  • Eat healthy meals and moderate your caffeine and alcohol intake. You should avoid caffeine for at least eight hours before you want to sleep.
  • If none of your independent efforts are helping, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may recommend light therapy or medication to help you get enough sleep.

The Key Take-Aways

  • Getting enough sleep requires special effort if you work a shift that requires sleeping during daylight.
  • Your sleep area should be comfortable. Avoid noise and light and invest in a quality mattress.
  • Left untreated, shift work disorder can cause other health issues.
  • If efforts made at home aren’t effective, talk to your doctor about sleep management options.

If you find your sleep area is not as comfortable after all come by our Bellelville, IL store or a location near you.

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