Shift Work Sleep Disorder.
Diagnosis, Symptoms, Medications and Treatment Information.
Shift Work Sleep Disorder also known as SWSD is a sleepdisorder that plagues people who work shifts.
Sinceyour body has ways in which to restore depleted energyduring the day,you might just as well assume that your body can restore orcover upfor the hours you do not sleep.
This is a big misconception.
Sleep is very important to the human body. Shift Work Sleep Disorderor SWSD is a statewhere you take away vital sleep from your body whenit needs it the most.
The human body is programmed tooperate in a certain way. Itis a very simple but complex machine andif one part does not work has plannedthe whole of your body begins toreact. This is exactly what happens withpeople who have SWSD.
How, you say? Read on.
Do you know that your body has an internal clock called the circadianrhythm?
Circadian means to occur in a periodof about 24 hours.
This clock tells your body when it is time to sleep and whenit is time to wake. This is also calleda Sleep-Wake Cycle.
You need to balance your Sleep/Wake cycle
Like I stated earlier, thehuman brain regulates when yousleep and when you are awake. Thehormone melatonin that is secreted by thepineal gland at back of yourbrain controls this sleep cycle. This sleep timingruns on a 24 hourperiod cycle. The release of the hormone melatonin inducessleepinessand the release of melatonin itself is triggered by darkness.
This simply means that when you are in the dark or when itis dark,melatonin is released and then you begin to feel drowsy. Daylightinduces the reverse and causes wakefulness. This is simply whatSleep-Wakecycle means.
The question that begs for an answer is, “How does your Shift Work affect your sleepcycle so as to cause Shift Work Sleep Disorder?”
When you work shifts period and especially at odd hours, yourbody begins to have problems adapting to that schedule.
You are awake when your body expects you to be asleep andyou try tosleep when your body expects you to be awake. Shift work disrupts yoursleep cycle, by messing up yourbody’s internal timing for sleep.
This condition if it persists could lead toinsomniaand evensleep deprivation.
Didyou know thatstatistics show that 20% of workers in industrializednations are shift workersand that 10% of them suffer from insomnia orhypersomnia resulting from ShiftWork?
Apart from theinability to sleep or excessive sleepiness,these workers can alsosuffer from coronary heart disease, insulin resistance,peptic ulcerdisease,sleepdeprivation, depression and sleepiness-related accidents.
Tired at Work?
How do I know I haveit?
If you work shifts andfind yourself dozing off at work alot then you probably have to see asleep doctor. The common symptom of SWSD isexcessive sleepiness.
Some other symptoms include,
- Mood Changes.
- General Irritation with people around you.
- Reduced output at work and slower reaction time.
- Headaches and
- Difficulty Concentrating.
Signs of Shift WorkSleep Disorder
- Did you start having sleeping problems after youstarted shift work?
- Has this sleep problem lasted for over a month?
- Are you always tired?
- Do you often fall asleep at work?
How to Treat ShiftWork Sleep Disorder
If you feel you have sleeping problems due to your workingschedule,you need to take decisive steps to correct this condition. You can dothe following to help yourself.
- See a Sleep Doctor as soon as possible.
- Reduce the number of night shifts you have in arow.
- Avoid overtime work.
- Get a Sleep Schedule. Buy a Sleep diary anddevelop a healthy sleep pattern.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine beforesleep time.
- Avoid Sleeping Pills. This problem is not goingto be solved by using them.
- Try as much as possible to get at least 7-8hours of sleep every day.
- Avoid bright light in your bedroom.
- Take a nap during a work break if you can.
- Take your sleep time serious. Turn off thephone. Use earplugs if necessary.
SWSDis treatable and is a situation that can be easilycorrected. You justhave to develop the right attitude and sleeping habit. Takeactiontoday!
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