Micic et al. (2016) argue that any job that involves ‘shifts’ can lead to a Circadian Rhythm Sleep-Wake Disorder. The fact that the said disorder relies on the breaking of the regular sleep pattern supports the premise. One of the regular jobs that involve shift-taking is nursing. Indeed, nurses often find themselves either sleeping at odd hours or not sleeping at all. It is important to note that the odd sleeping hours and resting patterns of nurses are not regular. It is common to find a night-shift nurse still working during the day due to the shortage of staff, and other unique challenges of the said industry. Thus, irregular and odd sleeping patterns lead to an overall confusion in the affected person’s brain.
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The second example of a job that can lead to Circadian Rhythm Sleep-Wake Disorder is piloting/driving. The said job also encourages irregular sleeping patterns, which are also categorized as ‘odd.’ Irregular has been used in this context to mean that the patterns are not followed at all times. On the other hand, the patterns are ‘odd’ as they encourage sleeping when others are awake. The issue of jet lag, for pilots, shows how the job affects the quality of sleep and the impact that has on the brain.
I had a problem with adjusting to normal sleeping patterns after experiencing jet lag. I had been traveling for one year to a different time zone. I found myself sleeping at odd hours of the day, and being awake when others were asleep. The situation, fortunately, resolved itself, and my body and brain adjusted to new time zones. It is important to note that after the adjustment, I had similar problems re-adjusting to the first time zones after that one year.
One of the things that can be done to alleviate sleep problems is maintaining an environment that encourages sleep. Exelmans and Van den Bulck (2016) argue that many people who suffer from the different types of sleeping problems, often have bedrooms that do not allow an individual to have a good night’s rest. The best bedroom setup for proper sleep should be quiet, dry, fresh, and dimly lit. Thus, having televisions and radios in the room will increase the chances of suffering from sleep disorders.
Another factor that has been identified to alleviate sleep problems is the development of pre-bed rituals. Children often have pre-bed rituals which set the mind at ease. Therefore, as one, either a child or an adult, is doing a pre-bed routine, the mind is already preparing for sleep. In such an action the mind allows one to fall asleep as opposed to the patient forcing the body to fall asleep. An example can be used to elaborate on the pre-sleep rituals. For instance, an individual can listen to a certain song then take a soothing shower before going to bed. After several nights of doing so, the body will be able to identify the sequence of the song and the shower as activities done before bed.
I have been soaking my feet in warm salty water as a pre-bed ritual. When I arrive home, I take a shower immediately. Therefore, it does not make sense to take a shower again, just before bed. However, when everything is done, I soak my feet in warm salty water and massage them before going to bed. I can confidently state that the ritual has worked and I fall asleep within the acceptable timelines of getting into bed.
Exelmans, L., & Van den Bulck, J. (2016). Bedtime mobile phone use and sleep in adults. Social Science & Medicine, 14893-101.
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Micic, G., Lovato, N., Gradisar, M., Burgess, H. J., Ferguson, S. A., & Lack, L. (2016). Circadian melatonin and temperature Taus in delayed sleep-wake phase disorder and non-24-hour sleep-wake rhythm disorder patients. Journal of Biological Rhythms, 31(4), 387-405.
Roskoden, F. C., Krüger, J., Vogt, L. J., Gärtner, S., Hannich, H. J., Steveling, A…. Aghdassi, A. A. (2017). Physical activity, energy expenditure, nutritional habits, quality of sleep and stress levels in shift-working health care personnel. Plos ONE, 12(1), 1-21.