Shift work and the assessment and management of shift work disorder (SWD)

Nearly 20% of the labor force worldwide, work shifts that include work hours outside 07:00 h to 18:00 h. Shift work is common in many occupations that directly affect the health and safety of others (e.g., protective services, transportation, healthcare), whereas quality of life, health, and safety during shift work and the commute home can affect workers in any field. Increasing evidence indicates that shift-work schedules negatively influence worker physiology, health, and safety. Shift work disrupts circadian sleep and alerting cycles, resulting in disturbed daytime sleep and excessive sleepiness during the work shift. Moreover, shift workers are at risk for shift work disorder (SWD). This review focuses on shift work and the assessment and management of sleepiness and sleep disruption associated with shift work schedules and SWD. Management strategies include approaches to promote sleep, wakefulness, and adaptation of the circadian clock to the imposed work schedule. Additional studies are needed to further our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the health risks of shift work, understanding which shift workers are at most risk of SWD, to investigate treatment options that address the health and safety burdens associated with shift work and SWD, and to further develop and assess the comparative effectiveness of countermeasures and treatment options.

Source : Wright KP, Bogan RK, Wyatt JK. Sleep Med. Rev. 2012.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2012.02.002

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