As a drug specifically designed to treat sleeping disorders it is little wonder that the condition known as shift work sleeping disorder and Modafinil are often spoken about together. Modafinil is an analeptic drug, which means it is a stimulant to the central nervous system and is, therefore, suitable for the treatment of narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, shift work sleeping disorders and all kind of fatigue connected with fibromyalgia.
What is meant by shift work?
Pretty well anyone who doesn’t work in a regular ‘9-to-5’ pattern can be said to be in shift work. However, rather than perhaps occasionally having to get into the office early or working late some nights, a true shift worker will be employed in a job where they have to be in their work-place on an established alternating pattern of times. This quite often means that one week they might work 5 days 8am to-4pm and the following week perhaps four days from 8pm to 6am. All sorts of shift work patterns are possible, but they all require working regularly during periods when you would normally be asleep, ie. through the dead of night.
Shift work sleeping disorder
Working shifts, as described above, upsets our natural body clocks, circadian rhythms, and will very often result in a shift worker having disrupted sleep – this condition is known as shift work sleeping disorder (SWSD). Shift work sleeping disorder can result in disrupted sleep regardless of the work phase the person is in, whether they are working days and sleeping nights or vice-versa. The reason for this is that the workers natural body clock never really gets the chance to adjust to working daytimes or evenings. The net result of this is that shift workers can feel fatigue at work. Modafinil is one of the drugs that can counter these problems associated with shift-work. Unfortunately prolonged shift work sleeping disorder can have far worse effects than not being able to sleep properly. Studies have shown that shift workers can be at a higher risk than the rest of the population for chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal illnesses. So, if you believe you have a shift work sleeping disorder you really should consider taking Modafinil to treat the condition at the earliest possible opportunity.
Symptoms and the treatment of shift work sleeping disorder
The most common complaint amongst sufferers of disrupted sleeping patterns is feelings of excessive sleepiness. In itself, if sleep isn’t taken when weariness overcomes the sufferer, it can at best lead to lapses of concentration and errors of judgment; but even worse could be the cause accidents at work or when driving etc. Other symptoms to look out for regarding shift work sleeping disorders are: insomnia, mood swings and depression. As mentioned above, Modafinil is often prescribed as a treatment for sleeping disorders. Being an analeptic, stimulant to the brain, Modafinil must not be confused with other brain stimulants such as amphetamines. Whilst amphetamines are addictive and have other unfortunate side-effects; Modafinil is determine to be non-addictive and benign in otherwise healthy adults. The reason for this is that Modafinil, uniquely, works on the hypothalamic histamines in the brain – making it a wakefulness promoter, rather than merely a stimulant.
Alternative treatments for shift work sleeping disorder
If you visit your physician for a prescription of Modafinil he or she may well try to persuade you to try a series of alternative approaches to treating your shift work sleeping disorder. Unfortunately not all of the strategies they are likely to suggest may be feasible for you as they include things like avoiding long commutes to and from work, taking regular breaks and even ‘naps’ at work, avoiding boring or tedious and repetitive tasks, working with lots of other people around you and, would you believe it, drinking caffeinated drinks. Whilst these alternative therapies are undoubtedly well intentioned; if they’re not feasible for you – you can always hold out for your Modafinil prescription.
Are you getting enough sleep?
It is important to remember that general fatigue and sleeping disorders could mask a variety of illnesses. On average, a working adult needs seven or eight hours of sleep within a period of 24 hours. Sleep in itself is a complex business that can be dealt with another time; however suffice to say that if you are getting enough sleep, but still feel you have a shift work sleeping disorder – perhaps you ought to let your physician check you over.