Study Work Schedule Affects Sleep Productivity

06.08.10 |

Going to work after midnight could dramatically improve the performance of employees on the night shift. A team at the Sleep and Performance Research Center at Washington State University Spokane used mathematical models to predict on-the-job fatigue for workers on 24 different nine-hour shifts. They found that people whose shifts start between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. are most likely to get a full eight hours of shut-eye, while those whose shifts start between 8 p.m. and midnight tend to get the least amount of sleep and feel most exhausted on the job. However, researchers saw a marked improvement in both performance and sleep duration for late shifts starting after midnight. That's because employees who start work before midnight have to fight the body's circadian rhythm to get any pre-shift sleep in the early evening. Those who get to work after midnight can get better-quality sleep right before their shift. The study will be presented today at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies meeting in San Antonio, Texas.