Actigraph measures of sleep among female hospital employees working day or alternating day and night shifts

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Sleep disturbance is common among shift workers, and may be an important factor in the effect of shift work on chronic disease development. In this cross-sectional study, we described sleep patterns of 294 female hospital workers (142 alternating day–night shift workers, 152 day workers) and determined associations between shift work and sleep duration. Rest–activity cycles were recorded with the ActiGraph GT3X+ for 1 week. Analyses were stratified by chronotype of shift workers. Using all study days to calculate average sleep duration, shift workers slept approximately 13 min less than day workers during main sleep periods, while 24-h sleep duration did not differ between day workers and shift workers. Results from age-adjusted models demonstrated that all shift workers, regardless of chronotype, slept 20–30 min less than day workers on day shifts during main and total sleep. Early and intermediate chronotypes working night shifts slept between 114 and 125 min less than day workers, both with regard to the main sleep episode and 24-h sleep duration, while the difference was less pronounced among late chronotypes. When sleep duration on free days was compared between shift workers and day workers, only shift workers with late chronotypes slept less, by approximately 50 min, than day workers during main sleep. Results from this study demonstrate how an alternating day–night shift work schedule impacts sleep negatively among female hospital workers, and the importance of considering chronotype in sleep research among shift workers.

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