Adequate sleep is essential for overall good health. A lack of adequate sleep may manifest itself in feeling run down and poor work performance. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reported, a study has linked insomnia to poor work performance in night shift workers. The results of a new study of night shift workers suggests that overnight occupational and cognitive impairment is more strongly associated with insomnia than it is to sleepiness.
It was observed by the researchers that night shift workers who were classified as being alert insomniacs had the highest level of impairment in productivity at work and cognitive function. The observation of occupational impairment was found to be more severe in alert insomniacs than in insomniacs who had excessive sleepiness. It was also observed that alert insomniacs had significantly greater fatigue than sleepy insomniacs. This emphasizes the clinical importance of distinguishing the difference between fatigue and sleepiness.
Principal investigator Valentina Gumenyuk, PhD, said these findings are significant to everyone who deals with night shift work. This study reaffirms that clinical attention is needed for insomnia within shift work disorder. Furthermore, it is suggested that treatments which focus on the relief of excessive sleepiness in shift work disorder may not adequately improve work associated outcomes.
This study has been published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. It was observed that in shift work disorder patients, insomnia is associated with functional and cognitive impairments. According to the authors the impairments seen in night shift workers who were alert insomniacs have practical and serious consequences in dealing with workplace safety and occupational health. It is clearly important to aggressively treat insomnia in night shift workers. This may result in improved work productivity and safety.