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NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours

Module 7. Napping, an Important Fatigue Countermeasure


The American Academy of Sleep Medicine Standards Practice Committee recommends planned naps before and during night shift for persons having difficulty with shift work.1,2 This expert committee states that the evidence provides a high degree of clinical certainty that naps counteract work-time sleepiness and increase alertness on the job.

You need to have optimal cognitive functioning when providing treatments, administering medications, and performing other nursing care. Failure to maintain on-the-job alertness can lead to errors and injuries for both you and your patients. When circadian rhythms don’t match up with shift schedules, shift workers often suffer from decreased alertness during the work period and disturbed sleep when needing to sleep in the daytime. These difficulties occur predominantly for those on the night shift.

In this module, we will cover scientific information to help you make strategic use of naps to combat fatigue and sleepiness:

  • Describe times of day most suitable for taking a nap
  • Explain what both short and long naps can do for you
  • Discuss organizational considerations for using naps during work shifts
Module: 7, Page 1 of 13