Researchers Find How Early Risers and Night Owls Can Improve Sleep During Rotating Shift Work

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Sleep disturbances and fragmented sleep periods is the main challenge for shift workers, affecting their performance, health, and well-being. Some people love to sleep early and some sleep late and this preference is called chronotype. Researchers at McGill University investigated the relationship between chronotype and sleep behaviour in shift workers during morning, evening, and night shifts.

The research team tracked 74 police officers for a month as they worked their usual shifts. With the help of a watch-like device, the researchers measured the participants’ sleep. “On average early risers sleep 1.1 hours longer on morning shifts, while night owls sleep two hours longer on evening shifts,” said Laura Kervezee, co-author of the study published in Sleep.

Taking naps is an effective strategy for shift workers to reduce the negative impact of irregular shift schedules on their sleep. Also, this behavior is prominent in early risers during night shifts. Unlike night owls, early risers slept less after night shifts, but took more naps before their night shifts, so that total sleep duration was similar. Understanding sleep styles may help create better work schedules and improve sleep behaviors during rotating shift work.

To Know More, You May Refer To:

Kervezee, L., Gonzales-Aste, F., Boudreau, P., & Boivin, D. B. (2021). The relationship between chronotype and sleep behavior during rotating shift work: A field study. Sleep, 44(4).

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