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Journal Article


Vanttola P, Harma M, Viitasalo K, Hublin C, Virkkala J, Sallinen M, Karhula K, Puttonen S. Int. Arch. Occup. Environ. Health 2018; ePub(ePub): ePub.


Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Työterveyslaitos, PO Box 40, 00032, Helsinki, Finland.


(Copyright © 2018, Holtzbrinck Springer Nature Publishing Group)






PURPOSE: Although shift work disorder (SWD) affects a major part of the shift working population, little is known about its manifestation in real life. This observational field study aimed to provide a detailed picture of sleep and alertness among shift workers with a questionnaire-based SWD, by comparing them to shift workers without SWD during work shifts and free time.

METHODS: SWD was determined by a questionnaire. Questionnaires and 3-week field monitoring, including sleep diaries, actigraphy, the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale (KSS), EEG-based sleep recordings, and Psychomotor Vigilance Tasks (PVT), were used to study 22 SWD cases and 9 non-SWD workers.

RESULTS: The SWD group had a shorter subjective total sleep time and greater sleep debt before morning shifts than the non-SWD group. Unlike the non-SWD group, the SWD group showed little compensatory sleep on days off. The SWD group had lower objective sleep efficiency and longer sleep latency on most days, and reported poorer relaxation at bedtime and sleep quality across all days than the non-SWD group. The SWD group's average KSS-sleepiness was higher than the non-SWD group's sleepiness at the beginning and end of morning shifts and at the end of night shifts. The SWD group also had more lapses in PVT at the beginning of night shifts than the non-SWD group.

CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that SWD is related to disturbed sleep and alertness in association with both morning and night shifts, and to less compensatory sleep on days off. SWD seems to particularly associate with the quality of sleep.

Language: en


Circadian rhythm disorders; Insomnia; Shift work; Sleep diary; Sleepiness


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