Few studies have reported on the effects of fixed and rotating shift systems on the prevalence of sleep disturbance. Thus, in this study, the relationships between different work schedules and sleep disturbance in Chinese workers were investigated. A total of 2180 workers aged 19-65 years responded to the self-report questionnaire on shift work schedule (fixed day-shift, fixed night-shift, two-shift or three-shift system), working hours a day, and working days a week, physical effort, subjective sleep quality and subjective mental state. It was found that the rotating shift workers, namely, two- and three-shift workers, exhibited higher risks of sleep disturbance than with the fixed day-shift workers did (OR 1.37; 95% CI 1.07to 1.74; and OR 2.19; 95% CI 1.52 to 3.15, respectively). The risk was particularly high among two- or three-shift workers who worked more than 8 hours a day or more than 5 days a week and among three-shift workers who reported both light and heavy physical effort at work. Moreover, the two- and three-shift workers (rotating shift workers) suffered from poorer sleep quality than the fixed night shift workers did (OR 1.84; 95% CI 1.01 to 3.32; and OR 2.94; 95% CI 1.53 to 5.64, respectively). Consequently, rotating shift work (two- and three-shift work) is a risk factor for sleep disturbance, and the fixed work rhythm may contribute to the quality of sleep.
Keywords: Chronobiology; Shift work schedule; fixed shift workers; rotating shift workers; sleep quality; work rhythm.