Does Shift Working Affect My Health?

Shift workers are at an increased risk of developing several sleep and health related problems, but with a few coping tips, shift workers can still get the sleep they need.

With the increase in industrialization and globalization of business, shift workers are confusing their biological clocks by working at all odd hours of the day and night. Many professionals in Los Angeles like nurses, doctors, pilots, air traffic controllers, customer service representatives, police officers and firemen are finding themselves working irregular shifts that are outside the normal working hours of the general population.

Night Shift Sleep & Health Problems

While working the night shift does not have any specific health problems, night shift working in itself may cause drowsiness and sleepiness during the day due to the change in the body's internal clock. People who work during night shifts are especially prone to tiredness and lack of motivation. Nearly 60% of all shift workers tend to doze off at least once during their work week.

Irregular Shift Sleep & Health Problems

Since the body takes time to get used to a new work schedule, shift workers with irregular schedules may not be able to get enough sleep before or after a shift.

Even if these shift workers receive an adequate amount of time to sleep, the quality of the sleep may not be very high as most workers with irregular shift schedules complain that they only experience fragmented sleep. The day and night cycle of the body and brain becomes completely disrupted due to the changing shifts which may not only causes a person to feel fatigued during their shift, but may also cause hyperacidity, reduction of concentration, poor memory, constipation, and even depression.

Shift workers can suffer from many sleep disorders including sleep apnea and narcolepsy. Sleepiness during working hours can also cause serious safety hazards, especially if the worker is involved in operation of machines, assembly lines or driving. These workers also can become prone to a variety of chronic illnesses such as gastrointestinal disorders, cardiovascular disorders and obesity.

How Can I Cope With Regular Shift Work?

If you work a night shift or an irregular schedule, you can and should plan your sleep schedule to ensure a healthy life. regardless of whether you work nights, or have a schedule that requires you to work both days and nights in the same week you should maintain a regular sleep schedule for the entire week, including non-working days as well.

If you are experiencing trouble keeping yourself awake due to your sleep schedule, try surrounding yourself with bright lights. To stay alert, try having as much bright light in the area as possible and when trying to sleep, try dimming the lights.

Ear plugs and eye masks are also recommended if you find it difficult to sleep during the day. The plugs and the mask can help to eliminate light and daytime noises to provide you with a healthy, uninterrupted sleeping environment. You should also make sure to avoid vigorous exercise, caffeine or any other stimulating drink or food as you approach your bedtime.

Also, try taking a power naps when possible including during work breaks. This will both refresh you and allow you to get better sleep later. If you continue to have problems, consult one of our Los Angeles sleep specialists at 1-855-690-0563.