Shift Work Sleep Disorder
Research papers on shift work sleep disorder reveals that this issues a real problem for employers that schedule swing shift work. Swing shift is inherently associated with sleep problems. Learn what the most recent research reports on shift work sleep disorder and get the results in a custom written research paper from Paper Masters.
Generally speaking, the human body follows regular schedules of sleeping and waking, mirroring the transition between days and nights; these regular intervals are known as circadian rhythms. However, when a person's work schedule does not allow for time to sleep during these regular intervals, and instead allots time that is not during "traditional" sleeping hours, the individual can encounter difficulties sleeping and waking naturally, a condition referred to as shift work sleep disorder (SWSD). This can manifest in a number of ways, but the most common symptoms are difficulty sleeping when one has the time in one's schedule to do so, or feelings of exhaustion or fatigue when awake, often due to lack of sleep or broken sleep.
SWSD can manifest in a variety of ways due to the diverse nature of the condition itself.
- Some people are assigned nontraditional working hours as a permanent state; these individuals are more likely to find ways to cope with the symptoms of SWSD and regain a somewhat regular sleep pattern.
- Other workers find their nontraditional shift to be temporary, or intermittent; because of the temporary nature of this new sleep pattern, they are often unable to acclimate to the new schedule and experience symptoms both during the nontraditional shift work and during the return to traditional working hours.
- Finally, some workers may find their scheduling to be rotating; these are the individuals that experience the most severe symptoms of SWSD. Because their schedules change on a regular basis, and because their circadian rhythm is thrown off balance with each change of shift, they encounter a near-constant stream of symptoms associated with difficulties sleeping and face the greatest consequences as a result.
Although many of the studies that have been conducted with respect to the impact of sleep deprivation on performance suggest that a lack of sleep has a negative impact on the performance of the individual there are some studies that indicate otherwise. For example, Mak and Spurgeon (2004) in their investigation of acute sleep deprivation on the performance of medical students in Hong Kong note that sleep deprivation "was not associated with any significant changes in both cognitive functioning and levels of stress perceived". Mak and Spurgeon's study took place over a four-month period, indicating that the results obtained are indeed comprehensive in nature.