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Understanding the Causes, Symptoms and Treatments for Shift Work Disorders

These days, there are a number of offices that require their workers to work in shifts. Shift workers are people who follow work schedules that stretch beyond the typical office hours. Due to globalization, the need of shift workers has drastically increased in the past few years.

Issues faced by shift workers

Since working in shifts has become a necessity, it is important to understand the consequences such workers face. Working in shifts generally affects the natural circadian rhythm of a person. Shift workers usually face sleeping disorders and several other issues.

These include depression, anxiety, irritability, reduced performance, irregular sleeping patterns and insomnia. There are many people who work in shifts. These include commercial drivers, customer service representatives, police officers, pilots, nurses and doctors. Many of these people often experience symptoms related to shift work disorders.

Shift work consequences

Many people, who do shift work, find it difficult to sleep during the day. They may also have difficulty in staying awake during the day. Bouts of sleep which are usually caused by deprivation of sleep are common in such people. This may result in loss of productivity and may pose serious risks.

Shift workers may feel excessively sleepy which may result in fatalities, injuries, errors in work, accidents, absenteeism, poor concentration and several other issues. These issues may pose a severe threat to society when people working in dangerous jobs like security services, law enforcement, emergency medical services and firefighting are affected by them.

Many shift workers also suffer from chronic circadian rhythm disorders. These disorders commonly occur when the biological clock or circadian system of a person is affected. These disorders are primarily of the following two types:

• Delayed sleep phase syndrome or DSPS which are characterized by the inability of a person to awake and sleep at times that are considered socially acceptable.

• Advanced sleep phase syndromes or ASPS which are characterized by early evening sleeping times and early morning awakening times.

People suffering from DSPS find it difficult to fall asleep at night and as a result are less energetic in the morning. People suffering from ASPS on the other hand tend to fall asleep early in the evening and wake up early in the morning.

Tackling sleep issues faced by shift workers

Shift work disrupts the biological clock of the body. Sleep deprivation can cause a number of issues. It is hence important to take appropriate steps for tackling the issues. Few such steps include:

Communication and preparation

Shift workers are advised to communicate the issues faced by them with their families. This helps in distribution of work and responsibilities among the family members. Shift workers are also advised to alter to their schedules beforehand in order to cope better with shift work. It is also recommended to maintain the same sleeping and wake up schedule on off days as the one which is followed on working days.

Stepping outdoors

Shift workers are advised to step outdoors in the sun once awake. The sun helps in activating the biological clock of the body.

Avoid alcohol

Alcohol may relax the body initially but often disrupts sleep during the latter part of the night. It is hence advised to avoid alcohol.

Invest in a good mattress

A good and quality mattress can help shift workers get a sound sleep during the daytime. A good mattress helps in relaxing the body and can also help in relieving stress. Good quality mattresses ensure sound sleep and hence provide total relaxation. Quality mattresses provide support to the body and hence relieve body pains and back aches.

You can find more information about such good quality mattresses at A sound sleep also helps people in staying active and productive when they stay awake. They hence help in improving alertness and memory and also relieve stress.

Shift workers are often affected by various kinds of sleeping disorders. These disorders can be tackled by paying attention to certain critical factors.

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