Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD)

Last updated: February 19, 2019

What Does Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD) Mean?

Shift work sleep disorder is a sleep disruption disorder that affects the body's circadian rhythms, causing insomnia and extreme fatigue. When a person's body has difficulty in adapting to working during hours where they would normally be sleeping, the circadian rhythm becomes out of sync. This causes the body to produce melatonin at times when the person is required to work. Melatonin helps to signal the body it is time to sleep and can increase the risk of a worker losing focus or falling asleep on the job.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD)

Shift work sleep disorder occurs when a person is required to work early in the morning, late at night, throughout the night, or on a rotation schedule. The sleep disorder can cause undue irritability, insomnia, fatigue, depression, and a decrease in energy. Those suffering from it can be susceptible to falling asleep while working by experiencing microsleeps (short, sudden onset bouts of sleep). These microsleeps last a few seconds but can cause injury to the person or those around them, depending on what they are doing at the time. In a workplace where shift work is necessary, employees should be monitored for signs of shift work sleep disorder.


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