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What causes shift stress and who gets shift stress?

Working at 3:00am
The main cause of shift stress is working on a night shift, after 11:00pm and before 6:00am, especially at 3:00am in the morning. This period is when the body is at its lowest ebb and its the time it resets its daily biological clock. So if you are awake - and demanding that the body be fully functioning by working - there is an inherent conflict occurring. You should be instead fully asleep, like most other people are at that time of the morning. This conflict causes circadian dysrhythmia, or disruption to your awake/sleep cycle.

Bad Shift Work Schedule
Evidence by other researchers suggests that it best to work days, then evening and then nights other wise if you work a different combination you can make shift stress worse.

Lack of Quality Sleep
Many shift workers never fully recover from shift work. Even if the shift work schedule is an easy one, like two nights on and five days off. The reason is the lack of quality sleep. Some use sleeping pills but many users of sleeping pills report that it does not fix the problem of lack of quality sleep.

Our survey showed that dehydration is a problem for shift workers. Drinking plenty of non alcoholic and non caffeine drinks will help the dehydration during the night. But it then creates a powerful urge to urinate during the first sleep after working the shift. So its a difficult choice. By fixing one problem you create another.

Being the Wrong Person to do Shift Work
Because people are different there is also a big difference to how much each person suffers from shift stress. Some can't do night shift work while others find it less stressful than most. If you are one of those who finds night shift work very difficult, changing your job - if possible - may be the best long term solution.