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Night Shift Workers and Alcohol Abuse

woman works night shift

People who work in industries that require them to work late or overnight may be at an increased risk for alcohol addiction.  Sleep issues that occur as a result of odd work hours can contribute to the likelihood of alcohol abuse. It is important for people in these positions to be hyper-aware of their vulnerability to addiction, and take precautions to prevent a dangerous habit from forming.  If alcohol use as a result of working the night shift is interfering with health, work, or relationships, it may be time to seek professional help.  Humans are biologically wired to feel awake in the daytime and fall asleep after the sun has set.  The internal clock that controls sleep patterns is called the circadian rhythm, and it developed in humans as an evolutionary advantage.  When we go against this natural pattern by working late into the night or going to bed when the sun rises, we can suffer a variety of health consequences.  Studies have found that people who work the night shift experience an increased risk of obesity and heart disease, along with many other physical and mental health issues.  The most common problem night shift workers face is low-quality sleep, which many people attempt to remedy with alcohol use. When night shift workers have a hard time falling asleep after arriving home as the sun rises, they may be tempted to have a drink or two to induce drowsiness.  While this may work as a temporary fix, the long-term consequences of drinking for sleep purposes are counterproductive and dangerous. Alcohol worsens sleep quality, causing you to fall immediately into a deep sleep without experiencing the natural REM cycle.  REM sleep is needed to recharge your brain and body, and without it you will likely wake feeling exhausted. Night shift workers who find themselves drinking in the morning are also more likely to fall into addiction. Drinking in response to any health issue, sleep disturbances included, will only exacerbate the issue in the long run.  

If you or someone you are struggling with addiction, now is the time to reach out for help.  At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.