Shift work sleep disorder is a circadian rhythm disorder that affects individuals whose irregular work schedule interferes with their body’s typical waking and sleeping cycle. Working overnight shifts, early morning shifts, or rotating shifts can result in shift work sleep disorder, as can jet lag for those who travel frequently. This circadian rhythm disorder has been linked to health problems such as sleep issues, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Shift Work Sleep Disorder and Circadian Rhythm
Your circadian rhythm uses external cues such as sunlight and darkness to signal your body when it’s time to wake up or rest. Working irregular hours creates a misalignment between your body’s natural internal clock and your body’s external environment. Shift work sleep disorder occurs when your body’s impulse to sleep on a regular circadian cycle conflicts with the activities you’re trying to accomplish during that time period. This may result in your body releasing sleep hormones when you're on the job and can also prohibit restful sleep during the day—a harmful cycle.
Shift Work Sleep Disorder Symptoms
Shift work sleep disorder is a chronic condition that impacts your everyday activities and ability to function normally. Shift work sleep disorder symptoms frequently manifest in the feeling of excessive tiredness when a person needs to be alert and focused, such as during overnight shifts. People under these conditions don’t receive the full, regenerative sleep they need. The habitual sleep problems that occur when you have shift work sleep disorder can interfere with work, family, and social commitments.
Insomnia, the inability to fall asleep when you need to, is also commonly associated with shift work sleep disorder. Professionals who work night shifts have to get their sleep during the day, but they may be physiologically unable to do so. Other symptoms of shift work sleep disorder include an inability to focus, clouded judgement, decreased energy, and irritability or moodiness. These are serious problems that can have dramatic consequences, such as falling asleep while driving or making inaccurate decisions at work due to tiredness. Women and older professionals with this disorder face greater risk of sleep deprivation than young men.
Shift Work Disorder Treatment
While there is no one-size-fits-all cure, there are a variety of lifestyle changes you can make to help alleviate shift work sleep disorder symptoms. Even if you can’t avoid working irregular hours, try sticking to a consistent schedule to help your body adjust.
It’s also helpful to maintain a rigid bedtime routine, even if it’s during the day. Typical bedtime habits such as closing the blinds, brushing your teeth, or reading a book can help signal to your internal clock that you are preparing for sleep. It’s also important to consider how your daily routine might contribute to your sleep problems—in particular, eliminate stimulants like caffeine.
Synchronize to Your Circadian Rhythm with RestoreZ
If you suffer from shift work sleep disorder, you don’t need heavy sleeping medications to get relief. Resyncing to your body’s circadian rhythm can help alleviate symptoms and increase restorative sleep. RestoreZ products are natural sleep supplements formulated with ingredients that give your body the proper nutrients it needs to restore its circadian balance, facilitating the complete, regenerative sleep your body depends on for optimal health. Find the right RestoreZ productto mitigate the symptoms of an irregular schedule for better sleep on any calendar.