Shift Work Sleep Disorder

Discover the Side Effects of Shift Work Sleep Disorder

People who work in rotating shifts, or tend to work during the night, can get shift work sleep disorder.

These people are: truckers, nurses, doctors, firefighters, power plant operators, hotel workers, and many others.

If you work in shifts, especially during the night, you may find that after spending all night fighting to stay awake at work, you won't be able to fall asleep when you finally arrive home.

In this article you'll learn what is a shift work disorder and what can happen to your body and mind if you don't treat it.


What is the Shift Work Sleep Disorder?

Shift work disorder is characterized by insomnia and daytime fatigue, due to a persistent work schedule that overlaps with a person's typical sleep time.

In shift work disorder, the person continually struggles to remain awake during his night shift and to sleep during the day. If his internal biological clock does not shift with the work schedule, he remains in a perpetual state of imbalance.

This state of imbalance appear mostly in night shift, which can be dangerous, and excessive sleepiness on the job contributes further to this hazard.

Early morning shift workers may have short schedules of sleep at night associated with early morning shift start times, and this may exhibit excessive sleepiness as well.

To learn more about this sleep disorder, I included below a very interesting video. The only problem with this documentary is that the image has an annoying big word in the center.

Hopefully this will not stop you from watching and learning more about shift work disorder. Actually, it may save your life!

How to prevent the shift work sleep disorder?


Side Effects of Shift Work Disorder

Sleep deprivation upsets the body's physiologic system, especially the:

  • hormones
  • immune system
  • digestive system
  • blood pressure regulation
  • urine production

Sleeping and waking up in the morning are signals that our biological clock uses to keep those physiologic systems synchronized with each other.

A person whose sleep schedule is irregular, doesn't have normal signals to reset his clock each day and keep things running smoothly. This may help to explain why disturbances of digestive system and headaches are more common in people who do shift work.

Sleep deprivated people also may become irritable and disoriented, and may have dreamlike hallucinations. They suffer a gradual loss of ability to concentrate.

Nine hours of sleep are needed, consistently every night, for reaction time of your movements to be at its best.


In conclusion, shift work disorder is not fatal. However, it certainly causes fatalities when it interferes with a person's ability to perform normally.

When a truck driver falls asleep at the wheel and crashes, an average of four innocent victims die with him.


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