People who work shifts are twice as likely to have trouble sleeping than those who work regular hours, according to the Taiwan Society of Sleep Medicine (TSSM).
A survey on the prevalence of sleep disorders among shift workers was conducted by the TSSM among 300 shift workers and 300 day workers around Taiwan and published during its annual meeting held from Saturday through Sunday.
Based on the survey results, the prevalence of chronic insomnia was 23.3 percent among shift workers -- 2.18 times higher than the 10.7 percent found in day workers.
According to clinical psychologist and TSSM's public education commission head Wu Chia-shuo chronic insomnia is defined as having sleeping disorders, including trouble falling asleep, waking up throughout the night and waking up too early, at least three times a week for three consecutive months.
The survey found that shift workers, compared with people who work in daytime jobs, have a higher risk of developing other health-related issues besides insomnia, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental illness and a weakened immune system.
The brain is an orchestra, directing the operations of various organs of the body, said Yang Chien-ming the society's vice chairperson who is also a professor at the Department of Psychology at National Chengchi University.
When the psychological clock is turned upside down, our organs and immune systems can get out of sync, Yang said.
Companies that operate on shift work should allow employees to work a shift for at least two weeks and let them rest for at least two days when changing to a different shift, as the body's physiological clock needs time to adjust, Wu said.
One of the ways to beat insomnia would be for people to sleep under optimum conditions, such as in a quiet, darkened room after getting home in the morning from night shifts, Yang said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel