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Sleep problems often persist after shift work, not permanent

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  • Shift Work

American Academy of Sleep Medicine  |  Apr 24, 2010
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There's some hope for folks ready to give up the struggle with the overnight shift: insomnia and other sleep problems often associated with those difficult hours may be difficult to shake when it's over, but it's not permanent.

Research also shows more years of shift work does not lead to worse sleep problems.

These findings were part of a 10 year longitudinal study in the April issue of Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Researchers followed workers in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s over various lengths of time.

Former shift workers had more sleep-related problems than those still on the graveyard shift or people who worked normal hours. Researchers reason this group is “self-selected,” meaning they were predisposed to have sleep disorders, and their difficulties persisted after they left their jobs.

Those who were still in early in their professional lives had the most problems. They were most likely to leave their jobs.

Shift workers also had more problems sleeping than daytime workers, often waking up too early.

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