Our expert says:
You have what is called "shift-work sleep disorder". It is estimated that roughly 30% of people who work shifts will be boarded out for ill-health within 3 years of going on shift.
So yes, indeed, this can and does have severe health implications.
While this cannot be "cured" other than by going off shift, there are a number of ways of ameliorating the problem - not least of which is abandoning the archaic 12-hour shift that nurses work, and rather using the physiologically much more friendly 8=hour rotating shift system.
Of course, your employer, by law, should be giving you information and help to cope with this. However, it has been my experience that the hospital groups do not take this seriously, and will not get advice for their staff on how to deal with the problem.
Obviously, this condition is why there are so many mistakes made in the wards over night - when you have been awake for 19 hours, you are functioning at the same level as if you are legally drunk - and yet still making, quite literally, life and death decisions.
You really should see someone with expertise in this field, who will be able to analyse your sleep patterns, and help you devise the best solution under the circumstances. Even better would be if your employer arranged for someone to come in and speak to everyone about this - but don't hold your breath.
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