One of the most difficult aspects of Non 24-Hour Sleep Wake Disorder (Non-24) is trying to maintain employment and some semblance of a normal social life. Here are some strategies that can help you do both.
Non-24 and Your Social Life
- Explain Non-24 to your family and friends so that they understand how it may affect your relationships. Let them know that you may need to wait until the last minute to accept or extend invitations for get-togethers and that you may not always be able to attend special events. Direct your family and friends to learn more about Non-24 at sleepfoundation.org/non-24.
- Make friends with people who work different hours. If your group of friends includes shift workers who work both day and night shifts, you will have a better chance of finding someone available to get together at a time when you are alert.
- Maintain contact via email. Email is a great way to keep in touch with people close to you during the times that you are awake but family and friends are sleeping or when you’re sleeping when they are awake. Send emails asking how they are doing and let them know that you are thinking about them.
- Conserve energy for special events. If you have a special event that you would like to attend, try to sleep as much as possible during the hours your body wants to sleep for several days preceding the event. This will help prepare you for the “big” event.
- Join an online support group. There are some options available. Find one that fits you best.
Non-24 and Your Work Life
- Look for a job with flexible hours that you can do from home. Just a few examples include:
- Virtual assistant
- Medical transcriptionist
- Web developer/designer
- Customer support
- Freelance writer or editor
- If you are already employed, ask your employer for:
- Flexibility in your work hours
- Opportunity to work from home as needed periodically
- Consider part-time rather than full-time employment if this is feasible for you
Non-24 is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and your employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations, including a part-time or modified work schedule. If you have been treated for Non-24, talk to your employer about some options. You may also want to consult with an attorney who specializes in disability