Shift workers most impaired on first night shift following day shifts

Nov 28, 2007

Researchers at Harvard Medical School affiliate Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have found that the attention of shift workers is most impaired on the first night shift following a string of day shifts. This research appears in the November 28, 2007 edition of the Public Library of Science ONE.

“It is important to identify this first night shift as being most vulnerable to impairment in attention, because critical jobs like medical care, airport baggage screening, law enforcement, and air-traffic control are routinely done at night,” said Nayantara Santhi, a fellow in the Division of Sleep Medicine at BWH and lead author of the paper. “Additionally, traditional methods like exposure to bright light and fixed sleep schedule that reduce attentional impairment during night shift work are not as effective during this first night shift.”

Researchers tested selective attention with visual search tasks in participants in a shift work simulation, which included four day shifts followed by three night shifts. They found that attention during the first night shift was the most impaired, with participants unable to stay focused on tasks. They were spending less time attending to search items and making more errors.

This research was funded by a grant from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

Source: Harvard Medical School

Explore further: More than one-third of kids in England are overweight/obese

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

TV makers design for streaming video to stay relevant

Jan 06, 2015

Does anyone just watch TV anymore? The dramatic shift toward online and mobile viewing is driving television set makers to design as much for streaming video as for watching broadcast or cable channels.

Chinese gay dating app grows to 15 million users

Dec 01, 2014

By day, Ma Baoli was a high-ranking officer in a seaside city police force. By night, he ran a website for gay people to share experiences and on which he spoke under a pseudonym about the pressure he faced ...

Under Rainier's crater, a natural laboratory like no other

Oct 03, 2014

Counting all the ups and downs, he had climbed more than 15,000 feet to get here - past yawning crevasses and over cliffs where a single misstep could send a rope team tumbling. His party was pummeled by a lightning storm ...

FX says overnight ratings becoming meaningless

Jul 24, 2014

(AP)—It's a rite nearly as old as television: the morning after a new show premieres, network executives wait impatiently for the Nielsen company's estimate of how many people watched, and rush to report ...

US air controllers still challenged for sleep

Jun 13, 2014

(AP)—U.S. air traffic controllers are still working schedules that make it likely they will get little or no sleep before overnight shifts, more than three years after a series of incidents involving controllers ...

Recommended for you

Singapore launches universal health insurance

16 minutes ago

Singapore's parliament has enacted a universal health insurance scheme with nearly $3.0 billion in subsidies to help the elderly and lower-income people, as it responds to demands for better social safety nets.

Some doctors won't see patients with anti-vaccine views

12 hours ago

With California gripped by a measles outbreak, Dr. Charles Goodman posted a clear notice in his waiting room and on Facebook: His practice will no longer see children whose parents won't get them vaccinated.

Obamacare Co-ops show promise and peril

13 hours ago

The Affordable Care Act includes a program designed to promote greater competitiveness in the health insurance marketplace by creating health insurance cooperatives. There are now more than 20 such entities serving 26 states ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.