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Work/Rest Schedules: Economic, Health, and Social Implications.

NIOSH 1981 Jul:1-11
Research areas of chronobiology, sleep, and performance were addressed with regard to applications to economic, health, and social considerations of work rest schedules. Key issues of each area were identified. Biological rhythms research provided an alternate model for determination of biological variations demonstrating that such variations could be a function of timing systems rather than homeostatic or feedback mechanisms. Sleep research developed sensitive measures of sleep and described its normative characteristics and variations providing models for predicting the influence of variations in sleep patterns and environmental and behavioral variables. Performance research provided testing measures and methodologies for organization of behavior through factor analysis and classification procedures. Some considerations of shift work economics included demand for units of production, level of automation, capital costs per equipment unit, labor pool, day shift base wage, and profit margin increase associated with a shift schedule. Regarding health, the author concludes, after citing several studies, that shift work could not be related to health studies without considering a broad range of alternative interactive variables. It is suggested that performance decrements might be utilized in studies of proximal effects of shift work on physical health. Work rest schedules or performance sleep tendencies reflected a fundamental biological rhythm such that difficulties associated with shift work reflected pathological symptoms inherent in society rather than signs of individual worker inadequacy. The author concludes that considering an ever increasing U.S. population working shifts other than days, shift work must be recognized as another system of behavior incompatible with the human nature.
Workplace-studies; Worker-health; Job-stress; Worker-motivation; Sleep-deprivation; Work-performance; Work-intervals; Psychological-effects; Physiological-response; Occupational-health; Endocrine-function;
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings;
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
(NIOSH) 81-127
NIOSH Division
Source Name
The Twenty-Four Hour Workday: Proceedings of a Symposium on Variations in Work-Sleep Schedules, Division of Biomedical and Behavioral Science, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cincinnati, Ohio, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 81-127