How Does Shift Work Disorder Affect Sleep

How Does Shift Work Disorder Affect Sleep

The working hours of the world have been changing rapidly in recent years. People are working longer hours, and many people find themselves working at night. This is a problem for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest issues is that it can cause serious sleep problems. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you might be having a hard time staying awake during the day, and you might even find yourself falling asleep while you’re driving or while you’re trying to do things like eating or reading. 

Shift work disorder affect sleep in a number of ways, from being more difficult to get up in the morning to make it harder to fall asleep at night. Read this post to learn more about the impact of shift work on sleep.

What Is Shift Work Disorder

Shift work sleep disorder is a sleep disorder that affects those who work non-traditional hours, like shift workers or those who are on night shifts. Most people don’t like shift work schedules because they go against their internal body clocks. Significant issues with falling asleep, staying asleep, and sleeping when desired are caused by the difficulties in adjusting to a different sleep/wake schedule caused by SWSD. In the United States, 20% of the full-time workforce is involved in shift work.

Symptoms of Shift Work Disorder

It’s difficult to get enough sleep due to shift work disorder. You may be able to experience the following:

  • Headaches
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Poor mood and irritability
  • Lack of energy
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating

How Does Shift Work Disorder Affect Sleep

If left untreated, shift work disorder can lead to serious complications, which includes:

  • Mood Problems: Shift work disorder can cause people to be impatient and be unable to cope with conflicts. Many employees would rather not interact with coworkers or socialize when they’re off the clock, and they often feel less inclined to socially interact with friends and family members when they aren’t at work. People with shift work disorder are more likely to suffer from depression than are people without the disorder.
  • Poor Work Performance: Shift work disorder can cause people to struggle to pay attention, remember things, and concentrate. It can translate to reduced performance at work and added costs for employers.  
  • Higher Accident Risk: Shift work disorder makes workers more at risk of committing errors or being involved in an accident because of the decrease in reaction time. Drowsy driving is one of the reasons why these individuals are more at risk of getting into accidents during their commute. Between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., there are a lot of drowsy driving accidents.
  • Added Health Problems: Good immune health can be maintained if you have a good night’s sleep. Shift work sleep disorder and subsequent sleep loss can impact the health of your digestive system, your metabolism, your reproductive system, and your heart. 
  • Low Testosterone: Shift work can affect testosterone levels, which can cause fatigue, low energy, and low libido in some people.  
  • Substance Abuse: A lot of people with sleep problems self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. If problems persist, this could lead to substance abuse or dependency. 

After transitioning to a more conventional shift, some people experience fewer symptoms of the disorder. A separate diagnosis for chronic insomnia disorder can be made if insomnia symptoms persist after changing schedules.

Ways to Deal with Shift Work Disorder

  • You can ask your manager to schedule a clockwise rotation if you work rotating shifts. The start time for your new shift will be later than the last one. It’s easier to stay up late than to go to bed early in this type of rotation.

  • It is possible to take a nap during your break, or before you report for work. If you take a nap of 20 to 30 minutes, you can be more alert.

  • You can either arrange for someone to pick you up or take a bus or cab home. The lives of other drivers can be at risk if you are sleepy behind the wheel. If you wear sunglasses on your way home, you will be able to fall asleep faster.

  • Try to keep the schedule the same on days off. Your body knows when to alert and when to sleep when you keep a routine.

  • A shift-work schedule change is something you should plan for. It is a good idea to alter your sleep time a few days in advance. The easier it is for your body to adjust, the better.
  • It is possible to stay alert on the job by using moderate amounts of caffeine. When it is time to go to bed, stop drinking coffee in the later portions of your shift so that you don’t disrupt your sleep.

  • If you need to sleep during the day, you should not be exposed to the sun in the morning. If you must go outside, make sure you wear sunglasses.

  • It’s a good idea to make sure others in your home are aware of your work schedule. When they are aware that you need to sleep, they should keep the house quiet.

Ways to Decrease Shift Work Disorder

  • If you keep a sleep diary, you can identify the problem and monitor it over time.


  • The number of nights worked in a row should be decreased. Shift workers who work the night shift should only work five or fewer shifts with days off in between. Work should be limited to four shifts in a row for shift workers who work 12-hour shifts.


  • If it’s possible, take more than 48 hours off after a string of night shifts.


  • Stay away from work hours that are extended. If you want to avoid putting in excessive overtime, avoid working long shifts. It is important to have enough time to sleep and participate in family and social activities.


  • Taking time away from sleeping can be avoided by avoiding long commutes.


  • If you have to work frequently rotating shifts, avoid it. It is more difficult to deal with rotating shifts than it is to work the same shift for an extended period of time.


  • It’s important to get enough sleep on the days off. If you want to practice good sleep hygiene, you need to plan and arrange a sleep schedule and avoid alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. If you want to start a night shift with sleep deprivation, do not.


  • It’s a good idea to plan a nap before or during the night shift. Night shift workers can benefit from nap time.


  • Don’t drive if you’re sleepy. If you can’t drive home because you’re too sleepy, take a nap or find a ride.


  • There is a role for prescription drugs such as modafinil or armodafinil to play in promoting wakefulness during work hours. Getting sufficient sleep is the best strategy.


  • If difficulty sleeping persists despite the above measures, sleep aids can be used.


  • During the early part of the shift, it is advisable to expose your body to appropriate light.


Shift Work Disorder is a condition in which people who work at night or on rotating shifts are unable to maintain normal sleep patterns.

Jet lag is when you travel and your body adjusts to a different time zone. Shift work disorder is a condition that occurs when you work at night or on rotating shifts.

People with Shift Work Disorder may experience problems sleeping at night. They may also wake up feeling tired during the day. They may also have trouble keeping their weight down.

There are many ways to cope with shift work disorder. You can try to exercise more or eat less.


Shift workers should be aware of the potential negative impact of shift work on their health. They should also be aware of the fact that their sleep patterns are affected by their shift schedule. In this post, we explain what shift work is and why it affects sleep. We also provide tips and tricks for shift workers to help them get the best quality of sleep possible. Hope the blog helps you. 

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