Psychophysical conditions and hormonal secretion in nurses on a rapidly rotating shift schedule and exposed to bright light during night work

Giovanni Costa, Edoardo Gaffuri, Edoardo Gaffuri, David S. Minors, James M. Waterhouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The psychophysical conditions of 15 young female nurses, working in a rapidly-rotating shift system (2-2-2-2), modified according to some psychophysiological criteria, and exposed to short period (4 × 20 min) of bright light (2350 Lux) during their night duty, were studied in order to evaluate their adaptation to night work and to test a possible positive effect on it of bright light. Subjective evaluations of work load and psychophysical conditions, performance measures, hormonal excretion (cortisol, 6-sulphatoxymelatonin and catecholamines), oral temperature and activity-sleep logs were taken during the shiftwork cycle, comprising one morning, one afternoon and two consecutive nights under normal and bright light. The results showed that this rapidly-rotating shift system had little effect upon the normal circadian rhythms of the body. Moreover, the lengthening of the night shift to 10 h can be considered to be acceptable, provided that work load is reduced and there are sufficient rest pauses available. On the other hand, the reduction to 7 h of the length of the day shifts and delayed start of the morning shift to 07:00 h appeared to be convenient both in relation to the work load and sleep duration. Some positive effects of bright light upon psychophysical conditions and performance efficiency were noted, while hormonal excretion and body temperature did not show any effect of bright light; in particular, melatonin excretion was not suppressed appreciably by the bright light used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-157
Number of pages10
JournalWork and Stress
Volume9
Issue number2-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1995

Keywords

  • Bright light
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Hormonal excretion
  • Nightwork
  • Nurses
  • Performance
  • Physical fitness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychology(all)

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