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SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Sleep Disorders Center

Shift Work Sleep Disorder

What is Shift Work Sleep Disorder?

Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD) is a sleep disorder that results from a constant or recurring disruption of the body's natural circadian rhythm, in which we sleep at night and are awake during the day.

People who frequently rotate shifts or work at night often have difficulty adjusting to the different sleep and wake schedules. This disorder is common in people who work non-traditional hours other than a 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The result is insomnia and excessive sleepiness and can lead to accidents, illness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, impatience, anxiety, depression, headaches and lack of energy.

The Cost to Industry and Business

In the United States it is estimated that of the nearly twenty million people who do shift work, 25 percent suffer from SWSD. Adverse consequences to industry include an increase in accidents, work-related errors and sick leave.

Programs for Individuals, Groups and Industry

At the Sleep Disorders Center we offer programs to identify and resolve sleep-related disorders, custom-designed for individuals, groups and industry.


photo of a man sitting in front of a computer yawning