Some people don’t have the luxury or good fortune of working a typical eight to five job, Monday through Friday. Many businesses and factories need to be open twenty-four hours a day in order to maintain a certain level of productivity. Professions in the medical, law enforcement and manufacturing fields don’t have the luxury to turn off the crime and injuries that take place during the evening hours in order to get their recommended eight hours of nighttime sleep.
In the past few decades the United States has become increasingly more dependent upon shift workers in order to meet the demands of globalization and our 24-hour society; however, the increased productivity comes with its risks and consequences.
Shift work sleep disorders result when people work against the normal 24 hour human biological clock. Such disorders—in extreme cases—can lead to serious injury or death.
Employers must take responsibility for writing and enforcing policies on the subject of employee work hours. They must also be aware of the warning signs of sleep disorders:
• Reduced performance
• Difficulties with relationships
• Irritability/depressed mood
It is not only the responsibility of the employer, but also the employee to make sure they are getting a sufficient amount of sleep. It’s a good idea to come directly home after your shift is over, make sure your room as dark as possible, and head straight for bed. If noise is an issue, use earplugs or a white noise machine, and make sure the bedroom is about 65°F. Your mattress also plays a key role in sleep quality—ensure your mattress is supportive and comfortable so you can get the recommended 7–9 hours of sleep to rejuvenate.