Shift Work Sleep Disorder
Prescribed sleep and wake schedules
Sleep scheduling decisions usually entail maximizing leisure time, fairness in labor relations and many more, rather than chrono-biological considerations. Shift workers can benefit by adhering to prescribed sleep hygiene practices. The primary goal is to enable patients to develop healthy sleeping habits and teach them to avoid worsening the problem by self-medicating themselves with drugs and alcohol.
Bright light therapy
Bright light therapy is used to help night workers improve their circadian adaptation. To enhance a delay of the body clock, the bright light should be avoided in the morning, and its exposure increased in the evening or first part of the night. Wearing blue-blocking or dark goggles during the morning commute from home to work can help to improve circadian adaptation. Bright light therapy is not recommendable for patients with an ocular disease or light sensitivity.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland at night or in darkness. Light exposure suppresses the secretion of melatonin. Thus, taking melatonin in the afternoon or evening from recommended light exposure can help to reset the body clock and cause sleep to occur at an early time. Even though it is not approved by the FDA as a treatment for shift workers disorder, there are no severe side effects or complications associated with its use.
A doctor can prescribe a hypnotic to promote sleep or a stimulant, such as caffeine to improve wakefulness or alertness.
There are many severe consequences associated with prolonged shift work disorder. It is important to visit a reputable sleep clinic to get the appropriate diagnosis and treatment for shift work sleep. An established sleep clinic has experienced polysomnographic technologists who can help shift workers maintain a successful job performance while administering sleep studies.