Work odd hours? What you need to know about Shift Work Sleep Disorder and how you can get the best rest
Shift work; what is it and who does it?
Although the definition of shift work varies, it’s typically defined as business that takes place outside of typical work hours, as defined in an employment contract or enterprise award. According to the Fair Work Act 2009, an employee is considered to be a shift worker if they meet a few conditions. They must work for a business that rosters shifts 24-hours per day, be regularly rostered to work those shifts, and routinely work Sundays and public holidays. The Sleep Health Awareness Report released by Parliament indicates that over 20% of us are in these roles. Over 20%... that's a lot of us who sleep irregular hours and may lack a proper routine for rest and winding down. Common occupations that require shift work are some of the most important in keeping the community safe and functioning properly. These include:
- police officers, firefighters, security and other first responders food preparation
- professionals and servers sales and retail personnel
- doctors, nurses, home health aides and other care staff
- transportation, warehouse, logistics, manufacturing-plant workers
- tourism and hospitality staff
- agriculture and farming
- entertainers and musicians
What is Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD)?
Working when most other people aren't and varying sleep routines and schedules can affect your circadian rhythm. Our body's natural clock, it's one of four biological rhythms and tells us when to get some shut-eye. It's influenced by environmental signals like daylight or darkness. Night shifts can be an especially tricky adjustment for that internal clock we all have because sleeping during the day just isn't what we were built to do. Shift work disorder may exhibit as irritability, lethargy or lack of energy, a decline in concentration, headaches and, of course, difficulty not just in falling asleep but in staying asleep soundly. These factors affect not only work performance and stamina but also leisure time and social functioning. In the long run, they may affect health and even longevity. Do you or someone you know experience shift work disorder?
How Therapy helps shift workers sleep better
Adapting to a different sleep-wake cycle takes some doing, but it's definitely possible. Today, more of us are embracing a low-tox lifestyle and saying no to medications in favour of remedies that support healthy changes to sustain our well-being in a more natural way. That's why you'll love Therapy's weighted blankets. Used in practice by sleep specialists, physiotherapists and other professionals who work with sensory issues, weighted blankets (and the benefits they deliver) have now gone mainstream. They simply work. Snuggling under a Therapy blanket is, well... instant relaxation; think of the immediate relief a swaddled baby feels. With the decorative look and soft plushness of a regular blanket, these natural sleep solutions distribute weight evenly across the body during rest, typically from 5-11 kgs depending on the user. In both our 100% cotton Adaptive Series and Cooling Bamboo blanket, tiny durabeads are encapsulated in 10x10cm pockets to ensure that the pressure from this extra weight is distributed evenly. Our super stylish Woven model relies on the weight of silky durable spandex that can be stretched to wrap or contour to your body. Each of the three styles uses 'pressure therapy' to mimic calm by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. This lowers your heart rate when you’re feeling stressed. A lower heart rate leads to the overall feeling of calmness and makes it easier to count sheep instead of worries.
More tips for great sleep hygiene
Combine our Therapy blanket with blackout curtains, white noise or earplugs to encourage higher quality sleep that will leave you refreshed. According to research out of the University of South Australia, a cool room is considered best for encouraging deep sleep, and the Sleep Council recommends a chilly 16-18 degrees Celsius. Fortunately, Therapy blankets are designed to keep you warm in the colder months and cool during the hot summers thanks to the removable covers and superior breathable fabric. You may even want to try our best-selling dual-sided Therapy Pillow. Sleep longer with memory foam supporting your neck in perfect comfort and a cooling gel pad for keeping the heat away. Bliss. You'll appreciate the ease of use that comes with our Therapy Blankets. There are no doctors to visit and no pills to take. Simply prepare to head off into dreamland and snuggle underneath the buttery soft weight. Since they're made from antimicrobial and hypoallergenic materials, they stay clean and require only infrequent washing. A selection of colours provides you with just the right style for your decor, so they'll fit into your lifestyle seamlessly. We offer quick shipping that's always free, and a 30-day trial for all blankets and accessories. What are you waiting for? Give our premium Therapy Blankets a try now, and say goodbye to shift work sleep disorder. Sweet dreams!