What is it? The constant changing of sleep patterns among day, evening and night shifts has been linked to gastrointestinal and cardiovascular disease, increases in alcohol and tranquilizer use, and chronic sleep disorders.
How common is it? About 20 million U.S. workers, or about 22% of the workforce, are shift workers.
What's the treatment? Studies have found several methods can be effective in dealing with the impact of shift work on sleep. Using extremely bright lights during night-shift work and having a darkened bedroom at home can help adjustment. Exercise programs can help, and melatonin taken at bedtime can also be useful.