EEG and self-recorded sleep of two shiftworkers over four weeks of real and synthetic work
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There is little doubt that lack of adequate sleep can be a major problem for shiftworkers who have to work at night, either permanently on a fixed shift, or irregularly on a rotating shift system. Many authorities on shiftwork have argued that sleep is a key to the problems of night shift work. Our recent survey of 315 shiftworkers on continuous shiftwork in the British steel industry found that although more shiftworkers (61 %) mentioned dislike of the effects of shiftwork on their social life, there was a greater correlation between dislike of irregular sleep, (mentioned by 47 %) with overall attitude to shiftwork (tau: 0.46). A number of other subjective symptoms, such as indigestion and general malaise, were correlated with sleep problems, and although a survey cannot specify the direction of causation, it is at least arguable that problems with sleep determine both other symptoms and overall attitudes.
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