Sleep Disorders

Last Updated: May 21, 2019

Definition - What does Sleep Disorders mean?

Sleep disorders is a group of distinct conditions such as jet lag, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, shift work sleep disorder (SWSD) and sleep apnea, that interfere with routine biorhythm cycles. The effects from sleep disorders can lead to detrimental repercussions including poor mental and/or physical health, volatile relationships, and inefficient productivity. Individuals with a particular sleep disorder experience characteristic symptoms that include mood swings, impaired cognition, irritability, lethargy, and marked daytime drowsiness.

WorkplaceTesting explains Sleep Disorders

The issue of sleep disorders is often diminished by the fact that many individuals fail to receive proper treatment where a legitimate diagnosis can be beneficial. Poor sleep hygiene often contributes to the development of complicating behavioural, physiological, and/or psychological afflictions. Daily and nightly schedules are disrupted to the extent that sleep disorders begin to undermine personal and professional objectives.

In the workplace, employees who suffer from sleep disorders can face stagnated career advancement opportunities, potential discrimination, and/or difficulty holding a job position. Normal circadian rhythms or, the 24 hour sleep/wake cycle, can be interrupted by environmental circumstances causing irregular homeostatic cues to occur. For instance, individuals with alternating work schedules or rotating work shifts are culprits for developing a sleep disorder. This phenomenon happens when the brain autonomously reconfigures its biological clock to trigger a release of melatonin to promote sleep.

Some sleep disorders can be categorized as a disability following a specific criteria that employees must meet before qualifying for accommodations on the job. It is important for employees to negotiate with their employers by explaining their condition often supported by medical evidence from a sleep specialist to justify their claim. However, in some cases, legal counsel may be required if employers fall out of line with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulations.

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