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Sleep disturbance among female flight attendants and teachers in a reproductive biomonitoring study.

Grajewski B; Whelan EA; Nguyen MM; Kwan LC; Cole RJ
Am J Epi 2000 Jun; 151(11)(Suppl):S82
Many of the 82,000 US flight attendants (FAs) may experience circadian rhythm disruption due to travel through multiple time zones. This study investigated whether FAs are at higher risk for sleep disturbance compared to teachers, as measured by questionnaire and wrist activity monitors (actigraphs). Sleep/wake cycles of 45 female FAs and 26 teachers participating in a reproductive biomonitoring feasibility study were studied. For one menstrual cycle, participants wore an actigraph, from which sleep times were estimated with a validated sleep-scoring algorithm, and kept a daily diary. Sleep parameters included total sleep minutes in the main sleep period, total sleep minutes in 24 hours, wake minutes in the main sleep period, sleep efficiency (proportion of time spent sleeping in the main sleep period), and sleep consolidation (pro- portion of time spent sleeping from 10 PM to 8 AM home time). Both actigraph and diary data suggest that FAs sleep longer than teachers. However, three actigraph indices of sleep disturbance indicated that FAs incurred significant impairment of sleep compared to teachers. FAs were more likely to spend more minutes awake during their main sleep period (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.2,95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2 - 1.3); to have poor sleep efficiency (adjusted OR = 1.7, CI 1.0 - 2.9); and to have poor sleep consolidation (adjusted OR = 3.0, CI 1.1 - 8.6). In this study, actigraphy was a feasible field method for characterization of sleep disturbance in a mobile workforce. Our observations indicate that FAs experience increased sleep disturbance, which may be an indicator of circadian rhythm disruption.
Flight-personnel; Circadian-rhythms; Sleep-deprivation; Sleep-disorders; Work-environment; Worker-health; Workplace-studies
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings; Abstract
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Source Name
American Journal of Epidemiology, Abstracts of the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research, Seattle, Washington, June 15-17, 2000
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
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