Shift workers have a really tough job to perform. They follow a schedule beyond their traditional work timings of 9 to 5 all five days a week. Full days are divided into shifts and workers have to cover the entire 24 hours, sometimes in the overnight, evening or early morning. This type of working pattern has become increasingly common in a 24-hour society.

Why sleep is so important for shift workers

Shift work is helpful in keeping factories, hospitals, retail stores, and other areas of employment productive and operational all around the clock. It can really take a toll on the health of workers.

Most of the time, these workers have a very hard time getting a proper amount of sleep as their internal clock or circadian rhythm pushes them to remain drowsy at night and conscious during the day. Best Mattress Brand is one of the leading websites to provide mattress guides and reviews.

Which are the common places where you would find shift workers?

Nearly 15 per cent of employees in the U.S., work on shifts. This type of work is very common in service-related occupations. Men are very much likely to go for shift work as compared to women.

Some of the places where you would see shift workers are doctors, nurses, emergency medical services workers, hospital staff, air traffic controllers, retail service, railroad workers, stocking workers, casino workers, meteorology professionals, internet service workers, firefighting, police, food preparation, transportation, material moving occupations, production, security, media and telecommunications workers, IT support staff, customer service representatives, hospitality workers, truck drivers, bus drivers, ship transport, public utility workers, death care and funeral professionals, and oilfield workers.

Reasons for people taking up shift jobs

There must be some good reasons for people to take up this tough task. Some of them are better family care, personal preference, child care arrangements, better pay and job availability.

Different kinds of shift work schedules
Shift work schedules happen in a variety of different forms. Some of them have been mentioned below:

Multiple shift patterns:
Workers on this shift pattern don’t work for the same hours daily. They may have to work in the evenings or afternoons on one day and switch to overnight on the next day within the same week.

Same shift pattern:
In this type of shift pattern, workers work for fixed, and predictable hours. They either work overnight or at any other time but not in line with their typical Monday to Friday 9 to 5 work schedule.

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Shift Work and Sleep

Shift work may be significant for several occupations but comes with disadvantages. Such a type of work shift causes excessive sleepiness, sleep disturbances, poor concentration, fatigue, accidents, absenteeism, injuries, errors, and even fatalities.

How does a shift schedule impact sleep in a person?

• As per National Sleep Foundation, among rotating and night shift workers, about ten per cent of employees have shift work disorder.
• Shift workers experience excessive insomnia or sleepiness 25 – 30 per cent of the time.
• As per the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, night shift workers sleep around 5 to 6 hours which is less than the required 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night or day.
• Quick shift rotations are linked with reduced sleep. Similarly, quick counterclockwise rotations are found to be highly disruptive.
• The night shift observes a 30 – 50 per cent increase in accidents of workers who are involved in the car manufacturing field.


Shift work can get very stressful and challenging work for people. Changing sleep schedules, it can result in sleep deprivation. Understand the impact of less than adequate sleep on circadian rhythm, and take proper and effective measures to overcome this issue.