Shift Work Disorder

What it is, how it affects you, and how to manage healthy sleep while working a shift-based schedule.

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

Shift work disorder is a chronic condition that is directly related to a person’s work schedule. Shift work disorder is considered a “circadian rhythm sleep disorder” by the International Classifications of Sleep Disorders—meaning there is a misalignment or de-synchronization in sleep patterns. With shift work disorder, you have a hard time sleeping when sleep is desired, needed, or expected.

Unfortunately, shift work can also be very disruptive to a person’s health and wellbeing. In a 2008 National Sleep Foundation poll, only 63% of shift workers (versus 89% of non-shift workers workers) said their work schedule allows them to get enough sleep.

They were significantly more likely to sleep fewer than 6 hours on workdays, to work more hours per week on average, and to experience drowsy driving at least once a month in the previous year.