Shift Work Sleep Disorder

Many people that work during the night suffer from Shift Work Sleep Disorder, also known as SWSD. This disorder can affect about one quarter of the approximately 20 million people who do shift work. People affected by shift work sleep disorder can be employed in many types of jobs. These include large numbers of workers in industries such as transportation, manufacturing, mining, power, health care, and emergency services including police and firefighters and EMTs. Many of these industries operate around the clock and many various shift schedules exist.

Working a shift job forces your body to function outside if it natural circadian rhythm. Their circadian rhythms never become fully adjusted to their hours. No matter how long a person works at night, when they are greeted by the morning sunlight a signal is sent to their brain saying it is time to wake up. A person suffering from this sleep disorder lives in a state of constant circadian disruption.

There are several coping strategies for people with shift work sleep disorder. The most important thing to remember when coping with the challenges of shift work is recognizing the importance of sleep and knowing that you hae to make it a priority.

Sleeping during the daytime can be very difficult for some people. Besides going against the body’s natural circadian rhythm, there is also the sunlight and the everyday life of the rest of the world, most of which is awake. A lot of people with this sleep disorder move their bedroom to an isolated place in the house and try to make the room as quiet and dark as possible.

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