Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD)

If you work outside of normal daytime hours such as evening shifts, night shifts, rotating shifts or swing shifts, you may be at greater risk for developing shift work sleep disorder (SWSD).

SWSD is a sleep disorder that disrupts the circadian rhythm of an individual.

Your circadian rhythm is often called a “body clock.” It is a cycle that lets our bodies know when to rise, sleep, and eat.

More than 15 million people in the United States work various types of shifts. Some are better able than others to adjust to working irregular hours, but for those that are unable to adjust, SWSD can become a major factor in lessening their quality of life.

Some symptoms of sleep shift disorder are:

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Problems concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Increase risk of making mistakes and having accidents

SWSD can also have adverse effects on your health. Chronic sleep shift disorder can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, digestive issues and depression.

If you are a shift worker with irregular hours there are some treatment measures that can help:

  • Exercise Regularly
  • Keep a healthy diet
  • Keep your sleep area dark with black out drapes or use a sleep mask
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine at least three hours before bedtime
  • Put away digital devices. The light from your device can play tricks on your brain, making it think it is daylight
  • If possible, take a 10-20 min nap during your shift

If none of the above treatment options seem to help you adjust to your irregular work schedules, you might want to consider contacting a sleep clinic. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s has a state-of-the-art Sleep Center. Call 718-206-5916 for more information or to make an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Do You Need More Or Less Sleep As You Get Older?

Research indicates that as you get older, you will need less sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following hours for each age group:

• Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours

• Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours

• Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours

• Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours

• School-age children (6-13): to 9-11 hours

• Teenagers (14-17): to 8-10 hours

• Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours

• Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours

• Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours

It was also found that adults tend to take longer to doze off, sleep more lightly and wake up more often during the night than children and adolescents.

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All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The Benefit of the Power Nap

An action that previously would have been grounds for termination in many work places is now being considered for its health and performance benefits. Several companies are now acknowledging the benefits gained from a short nap during the workday, which include increased alertness, enhanced brainpower, and fewer sick days.

Although it is widely recommended that adults sleep for at least eight hours every night, research has shown that most individuals suffer from broken sleep and fail to get a good night’s rest. For these individuals, a short nap during office hours may help. A quick 15 to 20 minute power nap can provide the boost needed to effectively complete your workday.

Believers in this philosophy feel that a well-rested employee is a pleasant employee, noting that if you’re sleep deprived, you’re going to be moody and less productive. Several progressive companies are now seeking to reap the benefits of napping by offering perks such as designated nap or “renewal rooms” to their employees.  Some companies simply encourage or allow employees to nap at their desks.  The average time recommended for a healthy nap is 10 to 30 minutes.  The longer the nap is, the more likely the chances of waking up groggy.

In addition to enhancing performance, studies indicate people who nap can also receive advantages that improve their overall health such as lower blood pressure, a boost to the immune system, a decrease in the risk of developing heart disease and a reduction in stress levels.

Napping offers various benefits for your health. However, receiving adequate sleep at night is just as important.  If you are experiencing sleep deprivation, please contact your physician or sleep professional. To schedule an appointment at The Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Sleep Center, call 718-206-5916.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.