Saturday, July 25, 2009

Shift work sleep disorder

I used to work overnight on a job from 11 to 7 in the morning. I found it very difficult to sleep during the day. I put sheets over the curtains to block as much light as possible into the room but that didn’t help. I put ear plugs in to make it as quiet as possible but it didn’t help (especially since I was living in an apartment at the time). Even before the sleep apnea I had always been a light sleeper.

I don’t think at the time that my sleep apnea was as bad as it is now. I weighted about 40 pounds less for one thing and I used to sleep on my stomach for another. By the time evening rolled around I was dead tired and worked through my shift like a zombie. The strange part about it was that when I went home in the morning, even as tired as I was I still had a hard time getting to sleep.

At the time I hadn’t heard about shift work sleep disorder.
Apparently I wasn’t the only person that had a hard time switching between work shifts, going from day shifts to night shifts. Apparently our body’s circadian rhythm doesn’t like it when we go from sleeping at night to sleeping during the day (at least trying to).

And there can be serious consequences to people who have this disorder, like an increase in accidents on the job due to lower concentration and lack of energy.

If you have sleep apnea, the night shift will also exacerbate your sleeping; leaving you even more tired and restless than if you were trying to sleep at night.

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