Sleep Disorders/Shift work


Hi Karel.
I am 56, in good general health. I work the night shift as a city transit driver. I enjoy this job, and prefer the night shift (5pm to 2pm) as it is much less stressful. I have noticed that my 'life pattern' stays the same on my off days as it does on my work days. By that I mean, on a work day I will get up about 10 am, putter around, then  by mid  afternoon I get tired and lay around before work. This pattern carry's over to my days off, which is annoying, as I want to have a 'normal day'. I have been on a  'stay cation' for a almost week now, and its the same. Now at 11.25 I am full of energy, on the computer! On the couple times I have gone on an actual vacation, I did have  more energy though...  Is this a common result of shift work?  If so, I guess its not a big deal. Its more annoying than anything. Besides, I live with my wife, kids moved out (no grandkids yet), no hobbies except reading and watching TV, so its not THAT big a deal I guess. Thanks for you thoughts!

Believe it or not, you are about the only one who has done what all doctors say to do, which is keep your sleep, and work patterns the same on your off days.  This tends to make it less of a chance to develop a sleep disorder. However as you said , you would like to enjoy more of the normal hours on your days off. You could simply on your vacation time try to switch your body over normal time as so called normal people shift, for the week or two of your vacation.  Then about 2 days before your vacation is over start to switch back to your normal hours as you do on a work day.  For some this might be easy however jolting a change to your so called normal schedule can result in making it hard to go back to your night shift.  Like I said unfortunately that is the pay off for night shift workers, however in your case you have put yourself in such a far better way and avoid any sleep disorders.  Eventually the older we get , the less sleep we need, so one way to look at it, is when you retire lets say in your 70's your normal sleep will only be 5 hours a day, so you will eventually switch your cycle to the way it should be . You could get a hobby which may keep you more alert on your days off, however the way your doing it, is the healthiest though maybe the most boring now.  Yet the payoff of not developing a sleep disorder is worth it.  as you age needing only 5 to 6 hours sleep you will find you will then have more of a normal function . I do hope this is not too confusing.  Feel free to email again , Karel

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Karel Sleis


all questions on sleep disorders,expert on narcolepsy,its symptoms


i have narcolepsy since age l6

past chairman of the american narcolepsy association
member of narcolepsy network

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