Shift work and quality of sleep: Effect of working in designed dynamic light

Hanne Irene Jensen, Jakob Markvart, René Holst, Tina Damgaard Thomsen, Jette West Larsen, Dorthe Maria Eg, Lisa Seest Nielsen

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Purpose To examine the effect of designed dynamic light on staff’s quality of sleep with regard to sleep efficiency, level of melatonin in saliva, and subjective perceptions of quality of sleep.
Methods An intervention group working in designed dynamic light was compared with a control group working in ordinary institutional light at two comparable intensive care units (ICUs). The study included examining (1) melatonin profiles obtained from saliva samples, (2) quality of sleep in terms of sleep efficiency, number of awakenings and subjective assessment of sleep through the use of sleep monitors and sleep diaries, and (3) subjective perceptions of well-being, health, and sleep quality using a questionnaire. Light conditions were measured at both locations.
Results A total of 113 nurses (88 %) participated. There were no significant differences between the two groups regarding personal characteristics, and no significant differences in total sleep efficiency or melatonin level were found. The intervention group felt more rested (OR 2.03, p = 0.003) and assessed their condition on awakening as better than the control group (OR 2.35, p = 0.001). Intervention-ICU nurses received far more light both during day and evening shifts compared to the control-ICU.
Conclusions The study found no significant differences in monitored sleep efficiency and melatonin level. Nurses from the intervention-ICU subjectively assessed their sleep as more effective than participants from the control-ICU.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)49-61
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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