National Sleep Foundation

Chapter 5: Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders

Assessment and Diagnosis

Assessment and Diagnosis of Shift Work Disorder

All circadian rhythm sleep disorders require a similar clinical assessment that includes a complete sleep history.

Analysis of the patient’s sleep-wake schedule for at least 14 days (work and non-work days), using a sleep log and/or actigraph, should be used to identify potential variations in sleep timing. It will also rule out insomnia associated with psychiatric disorders, breathing disorders, and restless legs syndrome, among other conditions,100 Polysomnography can also be used to assess Shift Work Disorder, and to rule out other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea.101

The timing of the data collection should align with the individual’s shift work schedule that produces the symptoms.


100. Silber MH, Krahn LE, Morgenthaler TI. Circadian rhythm disorders. In: Silber MH, Krahn LE, Morgenthaler TI, eds. Sleep medicine in clinical practice. London: Taylor and Francis, 2004, pages 253-276.

101. ]Drake CL, Roehrs T, Richardson G, Walsh JK, Roth T. Shift work sleep disorder: prevalence and consequences beyond that of symptomatic day workers. Sleep. 2004;27:1453-1462.