What is shift work?
Any type of work that requires workers to be awake during the night is call “shift work.” Shift work might involve
- Permanent, rotating, variable, unpredictable, non-standard, irregular, or unpredicted work hours.
- Early starts
- Late finishes
- Night work
Shift work can include long hours that extend beyond the traditional workday. Normally, these night shifts are in need of workers in that part of the night when they are sleeping.
Why do you need to manage shift work?
Fatigue can result from shift work. Fatigue refers to a physiological condition where someone can’t function mentally or physically at their best. Four main factors can cause fatigue: not getting enough sleep, being awake too long, sleeping in the wrong time zone, physical and mental workload, and missing sleep.
The combination of fatigue and a sleep disorder can result in the following issues:
- Poorer mental and/or physical health
- Lower level of functioning
- Increased likelihood of injuries or incidents
- Increased turnover and absences due to sick leave
Publications generally agree that shift work and long hours can have a negative effect on sleep. The most authoritative review concluded that even though there are many variations between people, shift work can cause sleep loss. It is especially noticeable after the night shift. While the amount of sleep can be decreased by as much as 2 hours per day, there are also effects on the quality of that sleep. In some studies, it is shown that REM sleep and stage 2 sleep are both affected. These sleep deficiencies can cause sleepiness at work. Some data shows that some people may even nap at work. You can even take some wakefulness tablets such as Modalert and Modvigil to keep awake.
People who work irregular hours often complain of fatigue. Fatigue is most noticeable after the night shift, but less so in the morning and afternoon shifts. However, it is difficult to measure fatigue. There is some evidence that fatigue symptoms can be reduced by improving your physical fitness. Even though it is vague, it is still a significant symptom that can be cited as a reason for being intolerant to shift work.
Shift work can cause stress in the psychosocial realm. However, stress is difficult to measure and define. Although stress is a common problem in many published reports about working hours, these reports often lack scientific rigor. This data is derived from self-administered questionnaires or case reports. Researchers can now use validated questionnaires like the GHQ (general health questionnaire) and the SSI (standard shift work index) developed by Folkard8 and Barton8 to measure and characterize the impact of shift work on mental wellbeing.
The likelihood that shift work and long hours will have a negative effect on your mental health is also indicated by the anxiety and depression indexes. The question of whether shift work is responsible for psychiatric deaths or whether it causes pre-existing psychiatric problems in shift workers is still open to debate. While there seems to be an increase in neuroticism as a result of more years of shift work overtime, it does not necessarily predict shift-related health problems.
Many shift workers experience digestive problems. This could be due to poor catering. The most common complaints from night workers include heartburn, dyspepsia, and stomach pains. These studies don’t have a lot of data. It is, more importantly, a need to know that psychosomatic disorders are more commonly found in the general population. Also, it is important to recognize the influence of many other factors, such as Helicobacter Pylori, infection, and family history.
There is growing evidence that night and shift work pose special risks for women who are of childbearing age. The majority of these side effects include disruptions in the menstrual cycle as well as stress on the family as a result of the night shift. There are some particular health consequences associate with night shifts, like a low birth rate, abortion, and prematurity. Subfertility evidence is less convincing.
How can you help yourself to rest better while you are working at night?
Sometimes, sleep issues are resolvable through a change to a normal routine of working during the daytime and sleeping at night. Many people can work the evening shift by making small adjustments. You can help yourself get better sleep by making your bedroom calm and dark, and also by taking care of yourself all over. In certain situations, using prescription medications for a short time or other over-the-counter products can help.
- Control the sound, lighting, and temperature.
- Be sure the area where you will sleep is dark. Wear blackout curtains or an eye mask for sleep.
- Use a towel to cover glowing digital devices like alarm clocks.
- Use earplugs to block out sounds.
- Utilize the use of a “white sound” machine. This can be helpful when there’s a loud noise within the neighborhood or in the home that you are unable to keep from making.
- Wear dark glasses when you head home in the early morning hours after a long day at work. This will help counter the effects of light so your body is relax when you arrive home.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine during the time before bedtime.
- Do plenty of exercise.
- Have a nap during a break at work if you can.
- Request family members to not wake you up during your sleep, except in an emergency.
- Discuss with your doctor whether you can try a diet supplement or medication.
- Your doctor might prescribe sleep pills for a certain amount of time to aid you in falling asleep. These kinds of medications comprise eszopiclone (Lunesta) as well as Modvigil 200, Ramelteon (Rozerem) and zaleplon (Sonata) and Modalert 200, Zolpidem (Ambien as well as Ambien C).
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