Working at 3:00am

The main cause of shift lag is working on a night shift, after 11:00pm and before 6:00am, especially at 3:00am in the morning. This period is when the body is at its lowest ebb and its the time it resets its daily biological clock. So if you are awake - and demanding that the body be fully functioning by working - there is an inherent conflict occurring. You should be instead fully asleep, like most other people are at that time of the morning. This conflict causes circadian dysrhythmia, or disruption to your awake/sleep cycle.

Bad Shift Work Schedule

Evidence by other researchers suggests that it best to work days, then evening and then nights other wise if you work a different combination you can make shift lag worse.

Lack of Quality Sleep

Many shift workers never fully recover from shift work. Even if the shift work schedule is an easy one, like two nights on and five days off. The reason is the lack of quality sleep. Some use sleeping pills but many users of sleeping pills report that it does not fix the problem of lack of quality sleep.


Our survey showed that dehydration is a problem for shift workers. Drinking plenty of non alcoholic and non caffeine drinks will help the dehydration during the night. But it then creates a powerful urge to urinate during the first sleep after working the shift. So its a difficult choice. By fixing one problem you create another.

Being the Wrong Person to do Shift Work

Because people are different there is also a big difference to how much each person suffers from shift lag. Some can't do night shift work while others find it less stressful than most. If you are one of those who finds night shift work very difficult, changing your job - if possible - may be the best long term solution.

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