To better understand Shift Work Disorder (SWD), this study investigates insomnia, sleepiness, and psychosocial features of night workers. The study compares night workers with or without SWD to day workers with or without insomnia. Seventy-nine night workers and 40 day workers underwent diagnostic interviews for sleep disorders and for psychopathologies. They completed questionnaires and a sleep diary for 14 days. The design was observatory upon two factors: Work schedule (night, day work) and sleep (good sleep, SWD/insomnia). Two-way ANCOVAs were conducted on psychosocial variables, and effect size were calculated. The clinical approach chosen led to distinct groups of workers. Night workers slept several periods (main sleep period after work, naps, nights on days off). High total wake time and low total sleep time characterized sleep in SWD. Most night workers with SWD still complained of sleepiness after main sleep. Cognitive activation distinguished groups of night workers. All other differences in psychosocial variables between night workers groups were similar to, but smaller than, the ones between day workers. The evaluation of SWD should consider all sleep periods of night workers with particular attention to self-reported total wake time, state sleepiness, and level of cognitive activation.
Keywords: insomnia; night work; psychosocial variables; shift work disorder; sleepiness.