We aimed to compared sleep characteristics associated with quick returns (QRs, <11 hours between shift intervals) with those associated with other common shift transitions.
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.
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.
The study emphasizes the need for sufficient time for rest and recuperation between shifts.