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NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours

Negative Impacts on Sleep

Man waking up to alarm clcok in the morning

Many studies have shown that people on shift work and long work hours frequently experience shorter sleep duration and poorer sleep quality.1-4 Workers on night shifts and rotating shifts report the most difficulties with sleep. National data from 2010 showed that over 50% of night shift healthcare workers reported sleeping 6 or fewer hours a day.5 This is considered too short by sleep experts who recommend at least 7 hours of sleep a day.6

Unfortunately, the problem of insufficient sleep is growing. From 1985 to 2007, the percentage of healthcare workers who reported not sleeping long enough rose from 28% to 32%.7

Getting less sleep than needed is called sleep deprivation. Not only do people feel tired and sleepy when they are sleep deprived, but also they can show declines on tests of brain functioning such as response rate, thinking, remembering, and concentration.8

As you read about the declines in functioning associated with sleep deprivation, think about how they might influence your performance at work and while driving home.

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