First Responder Shiftwork Sleep Disorder
By Dr. David Jin
What is Shiftwork? Shiftwork is work that takes place outside of ‘ordinary hours of work’. Many businesses rely on shift workers to keep things running seamlessly 24 hours a day. Our first responders (Police, Fire Fighters, and EMTs) are typical examples of shift workers. This constant flip-flop of work schedules is just like having jet lag and it can cause insomnia (difficulty in being able to sleep), excessive daytime (awake time) sleepiness, impaired work performance, and even some safety hazards such as falling asleep behind the wheel. These are the symptoms of the Shiftwork Sleep Disorder.
Folks who work the late-night shift, the early morning shift, and rotating shifts are prime candidates for Shiftwork Sleep Disorder. Routinely they will experience “sleep debt”. These changes in work schedules will consistently accumulate “sleep debt” and make it difficult to “repay” their “sleep debt”. Trying to catch up with binge sleeping will actually throw off your body’s time clock which will lead to a variety of medical issues with your circulatory systems, immune systems, reproductive systems, and mental health.
Normal sleep is 7-9 hours of solid sleep per day. This may not be possible for many shift workers, and their only choice is to cope. Long exposure to shiftwork sleep disorder may lead to increase chance of:
- Type II Diabetes
- Stomach ulcer
- Cardiovascular disorder
- High blood pressure
- Gastro-intestinal disorders
- Unplanned weight gains
- Sexual dysfunctions
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Initially, the most common symptom is snoring. Many of us have heard of the phrase “I only snore when I am really tired.” Well, if you are consistently lacking sleep, then you will be “really tired” all the time. 70% of loud snorers will develop some version of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and most of the above-mentioned medical issues are reversible if we are able to provide appropriate treatment.
At Snore No More by ABS, while our name suggests that we are dealing with your snoring, we are here to help you addressing the underlying issue of snoring, which is Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Helping people stop snoring saves marriages and saves lives. Our goal is to provide you with the best opportunity for a good night’s sleep.
next article: We will discuss what is Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and how simple it is for us to help you to a better night sleep.