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Sleep Detriments Associated With Quick Returns in Rotating Shift Work: A Diary Study

Vedaa, Øystein PsyD; Mørland, Erik PsyD; Larsen, Marit PsyD; Harris, Anette PhD; Erevik, Eilin PsyD; Sivertsen, Børge PhD; Bjorvatn, Bjørn PhD; Waage, Siri PhD; Pallesen, Ståle PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 6 - p 522–527
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001006
Original Articles

Objective: We aimed to compared sleep characteristics associated with quick returns (QRs, <11 hours between shift intervals) with those associated with other common shift transitions.

Methods: Sixty-seven nurses completed a 2-week work and sleep diary (94.0% female, mean age 47.7 years). A multilevel fixed effects model was used to examine the sleep in QRs compared with two consecutive night shifts, two consecutive evening shifts, and two consecutive day shifts, respectively.

Results: None of the other shift transitions studied encumbered as many detriments as QRs, which included short sleep duration (5.6 hours), slightly prolonged sleep onset latency, more abrupt ending of main sleep period, increased sleepiness, and higher level of perceived stress on the following shift.

Conclusion: The study emphasizes the need for sufficient time for rest and recuperation between shifts.

Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen, Bergen Norway (Drs Vedaa, Harris, Erevik, Pallesen); Department of Health Promotion, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Bergen, Norway (Drs Vedaa, Sivertsen); The Guidance & Counseling Center for Upper Secondary School in Asker & Bærum, Akershus County, Sandvika, Bærum, Norway (Dr Mørland); The Regional Centre for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare, Uni Research Health, Bergen, Norway (Drs Larsen, Sivertsen); Department of Research and Innovation, Helse Fonna HF, Haugesund, Norway (Dr Sivertsen); Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway (Drs Bjorvatn, Waage); and Norwegian Competence Center for Sleep Disorders, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway (Drs Bjorvatn, Waage, Pallesen).

Address correspondence to: Øystein Vedaa, PsyD, Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen, Christiesgt. 12, 5015 Bergen, Norway (

This paper was funded by a PhD grant at the University of Bergen.

The authors have no conflict of interest.

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine