How is shift work sleep disorder diagnosed?
Shift work sleep disorder is often ignored by patients. They see their condition as something they cannot change, owing to their work schedule. However, a doctor’s visit is incredibly useful in determining the extent of your condition. Your doctor can provide you with assistance in developing better sleep hygiene. They may also recommend you wear a sensor for a few weeks or go to a sleep clinic if additional studies could be useful.
When you do decide to see a doctor for your shift work sleep disorder, they will diagnose you based on the following criteria:
- You must experience insomnia while attempting to sleep and/or drowsiness while awake.
- Your overall sleep time must be reduced due to your work schedule. Typically, this reduction lies between one to four hours nightly.
- Symptoms have been ongoing for a period of at least three months and align with your shift work schedule.
- Your symptoms cannot be attributed to any other medical condition, sleep disorder, medication, etc.
If no additional tests are ordered, your doctor may conduct a physical exam and ask you to keep a sleep log for a couple of weeks. Based on your medical history and the results of the sleep log, your doctor will be able to diagnose you with shift work sleep disorder. You can then begin seeking treatment.