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How is shift work disorder treated?

Treatment for shift work disorder includes:
  • Bright light therapy: This involves exposure to a special artificial light at certain times to help reinforce your body clock and ease the transition to a new work schedule. Schedule short sessions when you first wake up and in the middle of the day. You can use a special light box, desk lamp, visor or dawn simulator for light therapy.
  • Sleep medications: Your doctor can prescribe a sleeping pill to help you get rest at the proper times. Sleeping pills may help you sleep better in the short term. Long term, you may develop a dependency or a tolerance to the medicine. Many people also experience side effects when on sleep medications.
  • Melatonin: Melatonin supplements may help you adapt better to a shift work schedule. Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the brain’s pineal gland. It signals the body to sleep. Research suggests that a dose of 0.5 mg works just as well as higher doses. Take melatonin several hours before you plan to sleep.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.