Do you work the late shift or perform shift work? If so, please describe your sleep problems.
Share your story with others:
MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.
Shift work and problem sleepiness
About 20 million Americans (20 to 25 percent of workers) perform shift work.
Most shift workers get less sleep over 24 hours than day workers. Sleep loss is
greatest for night shift workers, those who work early morning shifts, and
female shift workers with children at home. About 60 to 70 percent of shift
workers have difficulty sleeping and/or problem sleepiness.
The human sleep-wake system is designed to prepare the body and mind for
sleep at night and wakefulness during the day. These natural rhythms make it
difficult to sleep during daylight hours and to stay awake during the night
hours, even in people who are well rested. It is possible that the human body
never completely adjusts to nighttime activity and daytime sleep, even in those
who work permanent night shifts.
In addition to the sleep-wake system, environmental
factors can influence sleepiness in shift workers. Because our society is
strongly day-oriented, shift workers who try to sleep during the day are often
interrupted by noise, light, telephones, family members, and other distractions.
In contrast, the nighttime
sleep of day workers is largely protected by social customs that keep noises and
interruptions to a minimum.
Problem sleepiness in shift workers may result in:
increased risk for automobile crashes, especially
while driving home after a night shift;
decreased quality of life;
decreased productivity (night work performance may be
slower and less accurate than day performance); and/or