By Eric Stengle, Founder, Family Sleep Diagnostics
The 24/7 work culture is a global phenomenon. An increasing number of industries, businesses, and governmental establishments such as the service industry, healthcare, and law enforcement, function on a 24/7 basis.
Which means a substantial chunk of their workforce works outside the traditional 9 am – 5 pm work schedule. To put a number on this figure, 15% of workers in the US (salary workers and full-time wage workers) work in non-traditional work schedules.
However, shift work sleep disorder is not limited to the formal work sector. In our 24/7, connected environment, it is becoming increasingly difficult to escape shift work sleep disorder.
Social media has a major role to play here – a number of millennials and Gen Zs, not just in the US but across the globe, are active on social sites that connect them to a global audience.
This requires them to churn out content or connect with their audience base on a regular basis – some do it on a daily basis. Sleep is the easiest casualty in such situations.
Shift work sleep disorder is an outcome of continuously working outside the traditional morning to evening work schedule.
Common symptoms of shift work sleep disorder include excessive sleepiness during work hours, low energy levels, and mood swings.
Regardless of whether you work in night shifts or in rotational shift schedules, you can suffer from shift work sleep disorder. So, if you are not sleeping the hours required on a day-to-day basis, it is best that you consult with a professional sleep specialist at the earliest.
What are the Common Symptoms of Shift Work Disorder?
Shift work sleep disorder can be identified via a number of common symptoms. These include the following:
- Excessive sleepiness during the waking or productive hours.
- Difficulty in falling asleep.
- Difficulty in waking up.
- The constant need for more sleep regardless of the number of hours clocked.
- Mood swings ranging from irritability to depression.
- Difficulty in focusing on mental energy.
- Low energy levels.
In addition, these symptoms collectively can impact the social and personal relationships of the person affected and their family life starts to suffer. For this reason, it is important to seek help from a professional health coach or your health provider as soon as possible.
Why You Need to Seek Help
While shift work sleep disorder is a serious cause of concern when it comes to your mental and physical health, you also need to consider an important fact – some people are naturally more comfortable working in the late hours of the day.
If this is you, then you need to work out a schedule that allows you to be productive in the hours that suit you while ensuring you get adequate hours of sleep and rest in your non-productive hours. This can help prevent you from suffering from shift work sleep disorder.
However, if you find that your symptoms are getting worse or if you are unable to make the necessary adjustments to sleep well, then it is best to seek professional help. Lack of sleep over a period of time can lead to sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation, in turn, can impact your physical and mental health and lead to other sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia and physical health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
Your professional sleep specialist will start by assessing your sleep problem in the following ways:
- Carefully go through your health history.
- Conduct a detailed review of your current lifestyle.
- Collect detailed information about your sleep habits and patterns.
- Closely study your shift work sleep disorder symptoms.
- Examine you closely to identify other underlying sleep disorders, if any.
Once this information is collected, your professional sleep specialist will be able to accurately diagnose your problem and come up with an effective treatment plan that best suits you.
Based on your condition, you could be advised on making lifestyle changes, or treatment through therapy and medication could also be suggested.
Family Sleep Diagnostics – Saving Lives and Marriages
Is shift work sleep disorder keeping you from sleeping well? Or are you suffering from another kind of sleep disorder? If yes, we can help. You can reach us at Family Sleep Diagnostics or give us a call at (972) 714-0011.