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Shift work sleep disorder, lack of concentration, headaches, lack of energy

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2010
Answered : 157 Questions
I'm a 5'6 27 year old female that weighs 135 pounds. I have been a night shift floor nurse for 5 years. I have had no health problems until working night shift. In 2008 I developed a high fever and was diagnosed with mono. Last March I started to feel a pressure sensation in my head and get occasionally lightheaded. The pressure increased and I still have it to this day on and off. I have had an MRI done, lab work, seen an ENT doctor and everything has checked out normal. I have also tried Elavil and Klonopin for the head pressure and they have both helped. However it comes back when I don't take it. The only other medication I have take is ambien and restoril for sleep do to working an odd schedule. This past January I started to feel really weak in my arms and legs. I felt like I had the flu. I rested and took emergent c and felt better. However, it has come back on me and I felt really weak again in my limbs for the past 3 weeks. Just feels heavy to lift my arms and they also burn some. Do you have any idea what could be causing this? Could it be related to working night shift or the medicines I'm taking. Could something else be going on?
Posted Tue, 24 Apr 2012 in Sleep Disorders
Answered by Dr. Sunil.N 1 hour later

Thanks for your query.

After analysing your history,the symptoms are more likely of shift work sleep disorder(SWSD) rather than the side effects of the medicines. Since you work at night you may share this risk.

symptoms of SWSD include:

1.Difficulty concentrating
3.Lack of energy( feeling heaviness of the arms or legs or both)

Some general advice for decreasing the SWSD(shift work sleep disorder)
1.Avoid extended work hours.
2.Avoid working prolonged shifts and putting in excessive overtime. Make sure you have time to sleep and participate in family and social activities.
3.Avoid long commutes, which can take time away from sleeping.
4.Avoid frequently rotating shifts. It is more difficult to deal with rotating shifts than it is to work the same shift for a longer period of time.
5.Get enough sleep on your days off.
6.Practice good sleep hygiene by planning and arranging a sleep schedule and by avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.
7.Do not start a night shift with sleep deprivation.

Hope I have answered your query. If you have any follow up queries I will be available to answer them

Wish you Good Health

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