Circadian Rhythm Disorders II

Annie Vallières and Emmanuelle Bastille-Denis

in The Oxford Handbook of Sleep and Sleep Disorders

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780195376203
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Circadian Rhythm Disorders II

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The circadian rhythm disorder often known as shift work sleep disorder (SWSD) is characterized by the presence of insomnia symptoms and/or sleepiness occurring in relation to a work schedule. According to epidemiological studies, 14%–32% of night workers and 8%–26% of rotated night workers suffer from SWSD. This sleep disorder is explained by the fact that shift workers are sleeping during the day when their biological clock is normally facilitating wakefulness. Therefore, there is a circadian misalignment between wake and sleep periods. In addition to this biological explanation, several psychosocial factors have been linked to SWSD and hypothesized as having an influence on the adaptation capacities to shift work. Psychological factors such as depression or sociological factors such as marital satisfaction are presented in an integrative model to give a broader view of the course of SWSD. Actual recommended assessment and treatment options followed by behavioral treatment suggestions are presented thereafter. The authors hope that the innovative conceptualization of SWSD presented within this chapter will bring attention to different relevant topics for future research in order to improve the clinical management of SWSD in the long term.

Keywords: shift work sleep disorders; work schedule; night work; circadian rhythm; psychobiological conceptualization; behaviors; treatments; evaluation; new treatment and evaluation considerations

Article.  15512 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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