Car accidents can happen to any Pennsylvania resident, but night shift workers are at an even higher risk. However, people who work overnight are prone to shift work disorder, which is chronic and disrupts the body’s natural sleep rhythms. These issues can increase the risk of a crash.
Dangers of night shift work
People need adequate sleep to feel rested during their day. Most adults require at least a solid seven to eight hours of sleep to feel refreshed. However, those who work night shifts have a higher risk of problems, including car crashes, due to their natural circadian rhythms being disrupted. This is known as shift work sleep disorder (SWSD). People who work night shifts sometimes get as little as two to four hours of sleep. This can lead to symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating and sleep problems.
As a result of these issues, night shift work increases the risk of drowsy driving, which can quickly lead to a serious car accident.
How to avoid a drowsy driving accident
There are things you can do to avoid drowsy driving and reduce your risk of a road collision. Napping before starting your shift could help by keeping you refreshed and alert.
If your shift is consistent, that could also help prevent drowsy driving when you head home. Avoid caffeine during the last few hours of work so that you’re easily able to fall asleep during your regular bedtime.
Use earplugs and blackout curtains to get quality sleep during daylight hours. You should also keep your room slightly cool and use melatonin to help you fall asleep faster. However, check with your doctor to see if melatonin or any other supplement is safe for you.
With a regular sleep routine, you might be able to avoid drowsiness if you work the night shift. It could keep you alert and safer while driving.