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Chronobiol Int. 2010 Jul;27(5):997-1012. doi: 10.3109/07420528.2010.489439.

Work hours and sleep/wake behavior of Australian hospital doctors.

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Centre for Sleep Research, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.


The objective of the study was to describe the work and sleep patterns of doctors working in Australian hospitals. Specifically, the aim was to examine the influence of work-related factors, such as hospital type, seniority, and specialty on work hours and their impact on sleep. A total of 635 work periods from 78 doctors were analyzed together with associated sleep history. Work and sleep diary information was validated against an objective measure of sleep/wake activity to provide the first comprehensive database linking work and sleep for individual hospital doctors in Australia. Doctors in large and small facilities had fewer days without work than those doctors working in medium-sized facilities. There were no significant differences in the total hours worked across these three categories of seniority; however, mid-career and senior doctors worked more overnight and weekend on-call periods than junior doctors. With respect to sleep, although higher work hours were related to less sleep, short sleeps (< 5 h in the 24 h prior to starting work) were observed at all levels of prior work history (including no work). In this population of Australian hospital doctors, total hours worked do impact sleep, but the pattern of work, together with other nonwork factors are also important mediators.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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