What is the Best Way to Stay Awake During Shift Work?


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We are no longer constrained by day and night in our present lives. Humans are designed to work during the day and sleep at night, but many individuals today do not have access to that because of the socioeconomic system in place.

People who work in shifts are required in the healthcare sector, the transportation sector, the hospitality sector, and various other professions that offer round-the-clock service. Collaboration among individuals in various nations and time zone differences is becoming prevalent due to globalization. 

All of this implies that individuals must work at night a majority of the time. Some people work night shifts on a regular basis, while others do so occasionally and irregularly.

As humans are not naturally evolved to be active at night, shift work frequently leads to lifestyle problems including sleeping disorders. It may be difficult for someone to remain awake throughout a night shift even if they do not have a sleeping disorder.

Let’s talk about sleep issues brought on by shift work in this blog post and some all-natural strategies for staying alert and engaged when working shifts.

Shift Work Disorder (SWD) and Shift Work 

What is shift work, to begin with? Shift work is a job that requires you to take shifts of work with varying time allotments. Shift employees must work both the night and the day, in contrast to those who have a conventional 9 to 5 employment. Of course, they don’t work continuously around the clock, but on some days, they work at night and on other days, they work throughout the day.

There is no doubt that this has a negative impact on shift workers’ health, particularly their sleep patterns. Sleep, appetite, digestion, and all other bodily processes follow a precise cyclical schedule. The circadian rhythm keeps this cycle going. Our brain controls the circadian rhythm by releasing chemical messengers plus hormones on a regular schedule.

For instance, if you take lunch at the exact time every day, you might begin to feel hungry at that time every day. We refer to this as habit formation. Our body’s natural sleep pattern is also greatly influenced by the creation of habits. Therefore, if a person consistently goes to bed at odd times, the development of sleep habits will be impacted. The circadian rhythm is disturbed.

This issue may develop into a clinical condition in certain persons. Affected people in this situation lose control over their sleep cycle, which causes intermittent insomnia and unwarranted excessive drowsiness. Shift Work Disorder, or SWD, is the term used to describe this sleeping disorder when it results from working in shifts.

Sleep issues and excessive daytime drowsiness are features of SWD. SWD is linked to exhaustion in addition to headaches, difficulties concentrating, and weariness. Not all shift workers are impacted by SWD. SWD affects an estimated 10%-40% of people who work shifts. If you work shifts, you should see a doctor if you notice any of the symptoms listed here.

SWD should not be taken lightly. Your health, way of life, and social life might all be severely impacted by the illness. The following are typical dangers related to SWD:

  • workplace mistakes and mishaps 
  • irritation or emotional issues
  • difficulty adapting
  • finding social settings to be challenging
  • gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and metabolic disorders
  • addiction to alcohol or other drugs

Read Also Is Running Exercise Helpful in Cardiovascular Disease?

SWD clinical treatment

SWD is clinically treated with medication and lifestyle counseling. As part of lifestyle counseling, patients are encouraged to adopt a diet that promotes regular sleep patterns. It frequently also includes a workout schedule.

Two decades ago, SWD medications included CNS enhancers with a significant potential for addiction. Eugeroics’ introduction to the world market during the late 1990s brought about a change in this situation. A class of medications known as eugeroics works as a moderate stimulant to encourage alertness and attention. Similar to caffeine in effect, but better and more predicated. Modafinil is the first and most widely used eugeroic.

The main medication used to treat SWD at the moment is modafinil. In order to have a good night’s sleep at night, it assists individuals to remain alert during the workday. Modafinil is now widely accessible because of the drug’s frequent prescriptions. It is now also possible to buy Modafinil without a prescription

How may SWD be organically avoided?

SWD can be avoided naturally by:

  • establishing a decent sleep routine
  • eating a balanced diet
  • doing regular exercise
  • engaging in mindfulness

How may one develop sound sleep habits?

Let’s go through how to develop a good sleeping habit in more depth. Being able to fall asleep when it is time for bed and awaken feeling refreshed and rejuvenated is a necessary component of maintaining a healthy sleep routine. This includes getting uninterrupted, high-quality sleep. Here are some suggestions for creating sound sleeping patterns:

  • Always use the bed for relaxing and sleeping. Avoid doing any work or watching TV in bed.
  • Before going to bed, spend at least an hour without using a digital device.
  • Before going to bed, sip on teas or tisanes that naturally aid in promoting sleep, such as chamomile or turmeric tea.
  • After eating, don’t immediately turn in. Between eating and going to bed, go for a stroll or engage in some mild exercise.
  • Take away any enticing objects from your bedroom. To muffle outside noises, employ a white noise machine.
  • In a room that is completely dark, sleep. Consider using thick curtains as well as an eye mask to prevent sunlight if you sleep during the day.

Five ways to keep awake when on a shift

The final section focused on techniques for getting a good night’s sleep and falling asleep quickly. How to remain awake and attentive at work is the topic of this section.

  • Eat a snack to alleviate tiredness and to get energy from the calories you consume.
  • Sit in a well-lit location; for most individuals, light naturally prevents sleep. Any strong light would aid in keeping you awake.
  • Start a casual conversation since dullness or monotony might make our brains feel tired. Talking to a coworker or contacting a friend might help you break up the monotony of work.
  • Perform a brief breathing exercise. This will cause a surge of extra oxygen to enter your system, energizing your brain and causing you to feel awake.
  • Go for a stroll – Walking is a gentle kind of exercise that will keep you awake and energized.

Last words

This is the end of this discussion. I hope this will assist you in better maintaining your sleeping pattern while also enabling you to work effectively and actively.

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