Shift Work Sleep Disorder

About 20% of the workers in this country are shift workers.

But working the night shift, or on a rotating shift, takes a toll, because it goes against your biological clock (which is known as the circadian rhythm).

Keep in mind that sleep is a biologic necessity; it's not optional.

Sleep deprivation from shift work may result in a number of symptoms including difficulties with concentration, insomnia, severe sleepiness, irritability and moodiness, and it increases the risk of accidents.

Tips for coping with shift work include:

  1. Try to stick to the same shift schedule even on your days off.
  2. When sleeping during the day: keep the bedroom as dark as possible, and try to minimize noise or interruptions.
  3. A nap before going to work may help.
  4. If you have to go outside into the sunlight, wear very dark sunglasses to avoid resetting that biological clock.

Remember, your brain still needs just as many hours of sleep per 24 hours whether you work during the day or night.

More information is available in the section on problem sleepiness at