Sleep is a process controlled by biological signals in the body. The amount of natural light in the environment triggers the body when to feel sleepy and when to wake up. This is called the ‘sleep cycle’. Consequently, those who stay awake during the evening and go to sleep during daytime will have a disrupted sleep cycle. This can lead to a lack of sleep. (searchCRM.com)
This disrupted sleep cycle is a dilemma that many employees who work during graveyard shift (a.ka. third shift, night shift) face. The job finding website www.careerjet.com lists some companies in the United States that offer third shift schedules. These include Marriott International in Parsippany, NJ, Pepsi Co., Silgan Companies in Langhorne, PA, Panera Bread in Maple Grove, MN, and GE Energy in Greenville, SC.
However, lack of sleep is causing the performance quality of graveyard shift employees to drop. The Encyclopedia Britannica online stated that “Adults typically sleep between six and nine hours per night…” Any less than six hours of sleeping time can lead to poor health as well as social and behavioral problems. The August 1989 issue of Awake! Magazine mentioned: “NIGHT-SHIFT workers have been found to experience more gastric problems, ulcers, alcoholism, and divorce than do their peers who work days.” (20)
In order for employers to maintain the quality of performance among its employees, an online article titled Guide to Managing Night-Shift Workers authored by Judy Artunian and published in www.business.com suggested the action steps “1) Consult a night-shift management expert, 2) Schedule with care, 3) Make it convenient to connect (communicate), 3) Ask for feedback (from employees), 4) Evaluate employee performance, and 5) Celebrate milestones (encouragement activities).”
In the case of health problems, Awake! The magazine suggested that graveyard shift employees should “sleep during the same time period each day, preferably during the late morning and early afternoon. (20)”. The article also stressed out the importance having a good diet and avoiding alcoholic drinks. Nighttime work is already damaging enough to the health so graveyard shift employees should compensate by keeping the rest of their activities healthy.
Awake! Magazine. 22 August 1989 Issue. Published by Watchtower Org. Page 20.