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Sleep. 1985;8(2):105-9.

Napping in shift work.


Two hundred eighty-two three-shift workers on rotating schedules filled out a questionnaire on napping behavior. Fifty-one percent were habitual nappers, but these workers rarely napped when working the afternoon shift or on days off. Four patterns were seen: non-napping (49%), morning shift napping (18%), night shift napping (18%), and both night- and morning shift napping (15%). The napping behavior was closely related to the length of the major sleep episode, which depended on the shift worked and on diurnal type; for example, morning shift nappers rated lower on a morningness/eveningness scale and night shift nappers higher. A study repeated 1.5 years later revealed that non-napping was a very stable behavior, whereas napping in many cases had disappeared, particularly among those who had been transferred to day work. The results indicate that for most shift workers napping compensates for sleep loss caused by the temporal displacement of sleep and modified by diurnal type.

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