Shift Work Sleep Disorder

What is it?
According to, Shift work sleep disorder is a circadian rhythm disorder that occurs due to a work schedule that takes place during the normal sleep period. This schedule requires you to work when your body wants to sleep. Then you must try to sleep when your body expects to be awake. The timing of your sleep and wake is much different than your internal clock expects.
This clock controls the “circadian rhythms” in your body. The word “circadian” means to occur in a cycle
of about 24 hours. These rhythms make you feel sleepy or alert at regular times every day. Your internal clock tells your body when it is time to sleep. It also tells your body when it is time to wake. Among other factors, your clock is “set” by your exposure to sunlight.

There are several types of shift work schedule. These include the following:

  • Night shifts
  • Early-morning shifts
  • Rotating shifts

This sleep problem causes you to have trouble sleeping or to be severely tired. It is most often reported due to the night and early-morning shifts. These workers typically sleep one to four hours less than average. They also feel that the quality of their sleep is very poor. They do not feel refreshed when they wake up. This can hinder their job performance at work. It can also make them less alert which can put them at risk of an injury on the job.

The condition usually lasts as long as you keep a shift work schedule. Once you begin sleeping at a normal time again, the problems tend to go away. In some people, the sleep problems may continue even after the shift work schedule has ended. The length and severity of the problem varies from person to person. Some people are able to adjust better than others.