Disturbed sleep in shift workers, day workers, and insomniacs

Chronobiol Int. 2008 Apr;25(2):333-48. doi: 10.1080/07420520802113922.


Very little is known about differences in sleep between day and shift workers in representative samples of the population. This study compared a national representative sample (N=3400) of shift (with night shifts) and day workers regarding the different types of sleep disturbances and also the level of sleep symptoms with that of insomnia patients. The results showed very few differences between shift and day workers; only "too little sleep" and "nodding off at work" were marginally higher among shift workers. The results also showed that the complaints of insomnia patients for most sleep disturbances corresponded to the 2nd-16th percentile of the shift workers' levels of complaints. The results suggest, at least with the present questionnaire methodology, that shift work does not appear to be a major source of sleep disturbances and that their complaint levels bear no resemblance to those seen in insomniac patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Work Schedule Tolerance*