Self-Reported Recovery from 2-Week 12-Hour Shift Work Schedules: A 14-Day Follow-Up

S.L. Merkus, K.A. Holte, M.A. Huysmans, P.M. van de Ven, W. van Mechelen, A.J. van der Beek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Background Recovery from fatigue is important in maintaining night workers' health. This study compared the course of self-reported recovery after 2-week 12-hour schedules consisting of either night shifts or swing shifts (i.e., 7 night shifts followed by 7 day shifts) to such schedules consisting of only day work. Methods Sixty-one male offshore employees - 20 night workers, 16 swing shift workers, and 25 day workers - rated six questions on fatigue (sleep quality, feeling rested, physical and mental fatigue, and energy levels; scale 1-11) for 14 days after an offshore tour. After the two night-work schedules, differences on the 1st day (main effects) and differences during the follow-up (interaction effects) were compared to day work with generalized estimating equations analysis. Results After adjustment for confounders, significant main effects were found for sleep quality for night workers (1.41, 95% confidence interval 1.05-1.89) and swing shift workers (1.42, 95% confidence interval 1.03-1.94) when compared to day workers; their interaction terms were not statistically significant. For the remaining fatigue outcomes, no statistically significant main or interaction effects were found. Conclusion After 2-week 12-hour night and swing shifts, only the course for sleep quality differed from that of day work. Sleep quality was poorer for night and swing shift workers on the 1st day off and remained poorer for the 14-day follow-up. This showed that while working at night had no effect on feeling rested, tiredness, and energy levels, it had a relatively long-lasting effect on sleep quality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-248
JournalSafety and Health at Work
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cite this