Shift Start Times Can Impact Sleep, Alertness: Study


Asheville, NC (CompNewsNetwork) - A report presented at  SLEEP 2010, the 24th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC suggests that start shift time can impact sleep opportunities and the risk of on-the-job fatigue.

Results indicate that estimated sleep durations varied from 4.5 hours to eight hours according to the start time of the work shift. The maximum estimated sleep duration occurred when the work shift started between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., and the minimum estimated sleep duration occurred when the shift began between 8 p.m. and midnight.

One of the most interesting findings is that shifts beginning between 8 p.m. and midnight yielded consistently poorer predicted performance and less than adequate predicted total sleep per 24 hours. There was a relatively sudden decrease in predicted fatigue for shifts starting after midnight compared with shifts that started just before midnight. The researchers explained that work schedules with start times after midnight allowed workers to sleep right before the duty period, which meant they were better-rested when the shift began. In contrast, shifts starting just before midnight did not allow for pre-shift sleep because the timing conflicted with the body's early evening circadian process.

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Kevin Ring is the Director Educational Programs for the Institute of WorkComp Professionals, the Asheville, NC-based organization that trains insurance agents to help employers reduce Workers' Compensation expenses. A licensed insurance agent, he leads workshops, analyzes Workers' Comp programs and is the co-developer of a Workers' Comp software suite that helps insurance professionals in working with employers. He can be contacted at 828-274-0959 or

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