National Sleep Foundation

Chapter 5: Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders

Prevalence

What is the prevalence of shift work disorder?

Approximately one-fifth of the U.S. workforce is employed in shift work, although the percentage would be higher if workers with variable shift schedules were included.84

Most shift workers are in service occupations, like protective service (i.e., police and firefighters), food service, health care, and transportation.85

Not all shift workers develop Shift Work Disorder, and limited population-based data are available on the specific prevalence of the condition.86 One sample indicates conservative estimates that 14 to 32 percent of night shift works, and 8 to 26 percent of rotating shift workers experience sleep-wake disturbances severe enough to be defined as Shift Work Disorder.87

The 2008 National Sleep Foundation poll found that only about two-thirds of shift workers (63%) reported that their work schedule enables them to get enough sleep, compared to almost two-thirds of non-shift workers (89%).88

References

84. Drake CL, Wright KP, “Shift Work, Shift-Work Disorder, and Jet Lag,” in In Kryger M, Roth T, Dement W (ed.), Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (5th Edition), St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders, 2011, pages 784-798.

85. National Sleep Foundation (NSF), Shift Work Disorder: What is Shift Work? Arlington, VA: NSF, 2014. Available online at: http://sleepfoundation.org/shift-work/content/what-shift-work

86. Drake CL, Wright KP, “Shift Work, Shift-Work Disorder, and Jet Lag,” in In Kryger M, Roth T, Dement W (ed.), Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (5th Edition), St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders, 2011, pages 784-798.

87. Drake CL, Wright KP, “Shift Work, Shift-Work Disorder, and Jet Lag,” in In Kryger M, Roth T, Dement W (ed.), Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (5th Edition), St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders, 2011, pages 784-798.

 

88. National Sleep Foundation (NSF), Shift Work Disorder: What is Shift Work? Arlington, VA: NSF, 2014. Available online at: http://sleepfoundation.org/shift-work/content/what-shift-work