So I’m up; it’s 4:20 in the morning (no, seriously) and I have just about finished my day’s work. I’ve actually been done for a while but I just did my final morning tasks which means I have another two hours and forty minutes to sit on my computer and hope no one comes in to start idle chit-chat. I work the third shift at a small hotel in Charleston. This hotel is small enough that they don’t really ‘need’ me but still big enough that if anything went down, I would be there to take care of things. After perusing WebMD for material for an unrelated article I came across this advertisement for Shift Work Disorder (“Could You Be at Risk for Shift Work Disorder?”). Of course my interest was piqued so I clicked on the banner ad to see what it had to say about just what is shift work disorder and could I too indeed be suffering from shift work disorder.
What is Shift Work Disorder: According to this WebMD banner advertisement “3.75 million Americans are at risk for SWD.” Shift Work Disorder apparently is identified by “irregular sleep patterns leading to ES (excessive sleepiness) or insomnia, irregular sleep patterns affecting your work or personal life, irregular sleep patterns not caused by any other sleep or medical condition, (and) irregular sleep patterns not caused by a medication or substance.” Got that? Shift work disorder is being tired.
Excessive Sleepiness: Apparently this shift work disorder is characterized by an excessive sleepiness. What is excessive sleepiness? “Do you work shifts or a non-traditional work schedule? Do you feel tired or sleepy when you need to be awake? If you answered yes, then you could be suffering from excessive sleepiness due to shift work disorder.” So, if I ‘work shifts’ and I’m ‘tired or sleepy when I need to be awake,’ then I’m a candidate for this new drug that this web advert is selling?
Firsthand From an Overnight Cat: As I’ve written about for Associated Content before, I work overnights. Even when I don’t have a job I find I get my best writing done when I don’t have to deal with the glare of the sun. Still, for several years I have worked overnight shifts; at Denny’s, at a gas station, on the radio, and my job right now; working for several different hotels. So I know what the overnight lifestyle’s all about. I also know what it’s like when you’re working overnight and you need to be somewhere during the daytime. The irregular shift thing is a lifestyle choice. My wife made a lot of money working erratic hours in retail and she gave that up to get a 9-5 desk job because she wasn’t happy with all the irregularity. For me, the overnights are my normal. Am I tired? Sure, sometimes we’re all tired! Do I sleep regularly? Probably not as much as I should; at least not right now. Do I feel that I’ve got shift work disorder and I need to medicate it? No way.
If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen; if you can’t sleep because of where you’re working and feel you suffer from sleep work disorder, stop working there!