Shiftwork updated

How can shiftwork affect my sleep?

Generally, the body is programmed to sleep best overnight and to be most alert during the day and early evening. If you work night shift, it might not be easy to sleep enough or to sleep well during the day. If you start work very early in the morning, it might be hard to sleep in the evening. The average shiftworker sleeps one hour a day less than someone who doesn’t work shifts. Some shiftworkers sleep up to four hours a day less than normal, but this is not common.

If I do shiftwork, am I more likely to be tired while I am awake?

Shiftworkers often complain of being tired, both on and off the job. It may be harder to concentrate and be alert while at work. This means there is more danger of accidents at work and on the road, driving to and from work. Sleep loss impairs performance: 17 hours without sleep is as dangerous as having a blood alcohol content of 0.05% and 24 hours without sleep, as dangerous as having a blood alcohol content of 0.08%.

© Sleep Health Foundation, 2011