Honoring america's shift workers: it's time to shift our assumptions - FOX 18 Quad Cities News and Weather

Honoring america's shift workers: it's time to shift our assumptions

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Every night all across the country while most people are sleeping a contingent of people are not only awake, but hard at work. They are doctors, nurses, firefighters, emergency workers, IT workers, air traffic controllers and hotel workers, to name a few.

Now, a new video pays tribute to people who work non-traditional shifts.

Approximately 20 percent of U.S. workers are involved in some sort of shift-based or rotating schedule - that's nearly 15 million people. Because society is 24/7, we need shift workers. They perform critical services. But because of their work schedules, they put themselves at risk.

Working odd hours requires people to be awake and do work when their body's natural cycle calls for sleep. This disruption in their body's sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, can lead to a host of problems including a recognized - but often undiagnosed - medical condition called shift work disorder, which affects up to 25 percent of these workers.

Shift work disorder is a type of circadian rhythm disorder that occurs when a person's internal sleep-wake clock, or circadian rhythm, is out of sync with his or her work schedule. Symptoms include excessive sleepiness and insomnia, and these workers often find they are tired when they need to be awake but unable to go to sleep when they try.

The video is brought to you by The Wake-Up Squad, an educational awareness campaign developed by Cephalon, Inc. and designed to inform the community about SWD. If you think you or someone you know may be experiencing the symptoms of SWD, The Wake-Up Squad encourages you to learn more about this medical condition by speaking with a health care professional.

To learn more about SWD or to take a self-assessment, visit www.thewakeupsquad.com.

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