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Chronotype-specific Sleep in Two Versus Four Consecutive Shifts

Fischer, D. and Roenneberg, T. and Vetter, C. (2021) Chronotype-specific Sleep in Two Versus Four Consecutive Shifts. Journal of Biological Rhythms, 36 (4), pp. 395-409. Sage Publications. doi: 10.1177/07487304211006073. ISSN 0748-7304.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/07487304211006073


The study aimed to explore chronotype-specific effects of two versus four consecutive morning or night shifts on sleep-wake behavior. Sleep debt and social jetlag (a behavioral proxy of circadian misalignment) were estimated from sleep diary data collected for 5 weeks in a within-subject field study of 30 rotating night shift workers (29.9 ± 7.3 years, 60% female). Mixed models were used to examine whether effects of shift sequence length on sleep are dependent on chronotype, testing the interaction between sequence length (two vs. four) and chronotype (determined from sleep diaries). Analyses of two versus four morning shifts showed no significant interaction effects with chronotype. In contrast, increasing the number of night shifts from two to four increased sleep debt in early chronotypes, but decreased sleep debt in late types, with no change in intermediate ones. In early types, the higher sleep debt was due to accumulated sleep loss over four night shifts. In late types, sleep duration did not increase over the course of four night shifts, so that adaptation is unlikely to explain the observed lower sleep debt. Late types instead had increased sleep debt after two night shifts, which was carried over from two preceding morning shifts in this schedule. Including naps did not change the findings. Social jetlag was unaffected by the number of consecutive night shifts. Our results suggest that consecutive night shifts should be limited in early types. For other chronotypes, working four night shifts might be a beneficial alternative to working two morning and two night shifts. Studies should record shift sequences in rotating schedules.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/142300/
Document Type:Article
Title:Chronotype-specific Sleep in Two Versus Four Consecutive Shifts
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Fischer, D.dorothee.fischer (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Date:20 April 2021
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Biological Rhythms
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1177/07487304211006073
Page Range:pp. 395-409
Publisher:Sage Publications
Keywords:night work, shift scheduling, shift rotation, sleep regularity, social jetlag, sleep deprivation, rotation speed
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:Air Transportation and Impact
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AI - Air Transportation and Impact
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Human Factors
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Sleep and Human Factors Research
Deposited By: Sender, Alina
Deposited On:25 May 2021 11:40
Last Modified:24 Aug 2021 12:52

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