Research/studies Shift work

Coordinating work, body clocks improves shift worker ‘social jetlag’: study

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Munich, Germany – Adjusting work schedules can help shift workers get more sleep and improve their “social jetlag,” indicates a recent study from Ludwig-Maximilian-University.

Social jetlag is the difference between a person’s sleep pattern on workdays and free days.

Researchers studied factory workers’ sleep duration and quality, as well as other factors. Based on their sleep pattern, the workers were labeled with an early, late or intermediate chronotype (a person’s tendency to sleep at a particular time). The workers with early or late chronotypes were not given the “most challenging” shifts: Morning people did not have to work late, and night owls did not have to work early.

Workers reported better sleep and well-being with the adjusted schedules, and their social jetlag decreased by one hour. Social jetlag also has been tied to worker obesity.

Adjusted work schedules can lessen circadian disruption and improve sleep, and can possibly improve long-term health, the researchers concluded.

The study was published March 12 in the journal Current Biology.