Shift Work Disorder After CNA Training: Part One

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Do you work the night shift? Many CNAs do after CNA training, and they often experience symptoms like becoming tired more frequently, having trouble falling asleep once they get home, difficulty staying asleep, and fighting off sleep during their shift. These sleep issues can impact your work life, social life, and family life, especially if they occur frequently.

Experiencing Shift Work Disorder After CNA Training

Our bodies naturally follow a circadian rhythm, which is a 24 hour period in which we are awake and asleep. Under normal circumstances, this circadian rhythm tells us that we should be sleeping between 12 am and 6 am and 2 pm and 4 pm. This rhythm is regulated by our internal clock, and is linked to a cycle of dark and light.

After CNA training, however, if you are working the night shift, your circadian rhythm isn’t able to function as it should. Instead of sleeping during normal hours, you are awake, and this can have a major impact on your body, the consequences of which are known as shift work disorder.


Symptoms of Shift Work Disorder to Watch for After CNA Training

When your internal clock is constantly telling you that you need to be sleep, it should come as no surprise that your body is going to react to that need after CNA training. When you work the night shift, you may often feel tired, less alert, and fatigued. When you get home, your internal clock will tell you that you aren’t supposed to be sleeping during the day, and you will experience symptoms like difficulty staying asleep or falling asleep.

Working the night shift after CNA training often leads to three common and major symptoms: hypersomnia, insomnia, and excessive sleepiness.

Because of these symptoms, you will face several different consequences after CNA training:

  • Reduced number of hours you actually sleep. Many CNAs will only sleep one to four hours less working third shift than they would working first shift.
  • Excessive sleepiness, which can result in problems staying alert, memory lapses, difficult concentrating, headaches, slower reaction times, and difficulty making decisions. After CNA training, these consequences can truly impact your ability to care for patients.
  • You are at an increased risk for health problems, like hypertension, heart attacks, indigestion, heartburn, weight gain, colds and the flu, and menstrual irregularities.
  • You will most likely be more fatigued than other CNAs after CNA training, which can put you at risk for having an accident when driving to or from the medical facility you are employed at.
  • Your social and family relationships can be impacted greatly. You may become less patient, be more irritable, and suffer from mood disorders like depression and anxiety. You may withdrawal from your friends and family as you struggle to get more sleep or you may be so tired all of the time that you are unable to enjoy social activities anymore.

Shift work disorder is a serious problem after CNA training. Come back tomorrow to discover what you can do to combat this issue and get a good day’s sleep when working the night shift after CNA training.

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