Do you work in shifts, be it night shifts, rotating shifts or early morning shifts. It becomes hard for the person who is on shift job to adjust to the sleep-wake pattern. Our body has its own clock so to adjust to a new sleep time sometimes this clock goes hay way and result in Shift Work Disorder. It is a disorder in which person has sleeping troubles and couldn’t keep awake at the time needed. This is quite a disruptive illness as it can hinder your job, social and personal life and your mental fitness as well.
Symptoms of Shift Work Disorder
Shift Work disorder can be diagnosed if you see any of these symptoms.
- Inability to fall asleep when required which could be both that you wake up early then the time needed to complete the sleep or you couldn’t fall asleep altogether.
- Difficulty in keeping awake during job hours.
- Couldn’t concentrate on things
- Depression and getting irritated on things easily.
- Less energy.
- Facing problem in social and personal life.
This type of symptoms means that you may be suffering from Shift Work Disorder and it can adversely affect your health, safety and productivity. The difference between insomnia and Shift Work Disorder is that a person suffering from SWD if put back on normal schedule can cure the insomnia caused by shift work.
How can you avoid Shift Work Disorder (SWD)?
About 20% of people are working in shift jobs and are either in rotating, morning or night shift, due to their work schedule they are at higher risk of getting SWD. To avoid SWD, we can keep some pointers in mind:
- Long commuting should be avoided, shift nearby your job if possible as long commuting can take away the time needed to rest.
- If you are driving wear wraparound sunglasses and hat to avoid bright light, so that you can fall asleep as soon as you reach your place.
- Limit your calls and messaging during your sleep hours.
- Do heavy curtaining in your house, so that day light could not affect you in your sleep hours.
- Drink less of caffeine. Caffeine helps you remain awake which can help you in your shift work but can hinder your sleep pattern also.
- Stick to your sleep awake pattern
- Break from night shift or rotating shift schedule to normal shift schedule from time to time so that you can complete your sleep debt and be re energised.
How can you cure Shift Work Disorder (SWD)?
Even after making lifestyle changes and taking precautions if you end up with the SWD, your doctor may prescribe you medicines which may fall under two categories:
- Medicine to increase alertness and awakens the person while in job to grow your productivity- Modafinil, Armodafinil.
- Medicines to help you fight insomnia and lets you fall asleep when needed – Antidepressants, sleeping aids like Benzodiazepines.
Taking these medicines with the lifestyle changes and being precautionary in advance can cure your SWD.