The effects of extended nap periods on cognitive, physiological and subjective responses under simulated night shift conditions.
Chronobiol Int. 2017 Nov 16;:1-19
Authors: Davy J, Göbel M
Extended nap opportunities have been effective in maintaining alertness in the context of extended night shifts (+12 h). However, there is limited evidence of their efficacy during 8-h shifts. Thus, this study explored the effects of extended naps on cognitive, physiological and perceptual responses during four simulated, 8-h night shifts. In a laboratory setting, 32 participants were allocated to one of three conditions. All participants completed four consecutive, 8-h night shifts, with the arrangements differing by condition. The fixed night condition worked from 22h00 to 06h00, while the nap early group worked from 20h00 to 08h00 and napped between 00h00 and 03h20. The nap late group worked from 00h00 to 12h00 and napped between 04h00 and 07h20. Nap length was limited to 3 hours and 20 minutes. Participants performed a simple beading task during each shift, while also completing six to eight test batteries roughly every 2 h. During each shift, six test batteries were completed, in which the following measures were taken. Performance indicators included beading output, eye accommodation time, choice reaction time, visual vigilance, simple reaction time, processing speed and object recognition, working memory, motor response time and tracking performance. Physiological measures included heart rate and tympanic temperature, whereas subjective sleepiness and reported sleep length and quality while outside the laboratory constituted the self reported measures. Both naps reduced subjective sleepiness but did not alter the circadian and homeostatic-related changes in cognitive and physiological measures, relative to the fixed night condition. Additionally, there was evidence of sleep inertia following each nap, which resulted in transient reductions in certain perceptual cognitive performance measures. The present study suggested that there were some benefits associated with including an extended nap during 8-h night shifts. However, the effects of sleep inertia need to be effectively managed to ensure that post-nap alertness and performance is maintained.
PMID: 29144168 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]