Night Shift worker/ sleep issues

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by slumberland on Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:21 am

Night Shift worker/ sleep issues

hello Sleep Experts,
I mostly work night shifts and the next day is a disaster. I've tried different methods, post-shift... originally, my thought was to try and get to sleep immediately after. That rarely works because, whilst your body is screaming for rest, it's 9/ 10am and its normal pattern is to be wide awake ready to start a new day. So now I might go to a cafe on the way home (strictly decaf beverages), do some light tidying once in the flat, and then pull down the blinds and try for sleep about an hour later. I manage to sleep for approx 90-120mins, then I'm awake again. And feeling like a zombie for the remainder of the day. I may doze off briefly around 6pm. It feels like a complete waste of a day. It's been like this for about 10 months and I'm sure that sleep deprivation is now a constant.
Nights off are almost as bad as I cannot simply revert back to a normal sleep pattern, i.e. ready for bed around midnight. It's quite normal for me to be wide awake throughout the night, finally getting to sleep around 8am. This is ironically the time a night shift normally ends. I've tried all sorts in an effort to aid sleep... memory foam mattresses & pillows, aromatherapy sleep sprays, blackout blinds, no laptop in bed. No luck!

Any advice you can offer would be much appreciated. Thank you

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by lisaartis on Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:51 am

Re: Night Shift worker/ sleep issues

Thanks for your message.

It sounds like you're suffering with what is known as 'Shift Work Sleep Disorder' - a circadian rhythm sleep disorder that affects people who work non-traditional hours e.g. different shifts or work at night.

As you know the main challenge of shift work is that it forces you to sleep against the clock. You have an internal body clock in your brain that produces circadian rhythms which signal to you when it is time to sleep or wake up. This is often set by exposure to sunlight. Shift workers must fight the body’s natural rhythms to try and stay awake and then feel sleepy in the day when the body expects to be alert. Daytime sleep is often less efficient that night time sleep as you’re constantly battling against disturbance factors – such as light, noise etc – and challenging your body’s natural circadian clock.

Do you find yourself suffering from any of the falling?
Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
Excessive sleepiness
Microsleeps – which last just a few seconds
Lack of energy
Trouble concentrating

If you do, I would recommend visiting your GP about Shift Work Sleep Disorder.

Unfortunately shift workers have the hardest time when it comes to achieving a good night’s sleep. There are coping strategies to deal with sleep problems which involves improving sleep hygiene like making sure the bedroom environment is ideal ie dark (should be as pitch black as possible - use blackout blinds and curtains and an eye mask), cool, quiet (use ear plugs) etc. There's more information here ... ORKERS.pdf
Lisa Artis
Head of The Sleep Council ... _artis.php

2 posts