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J Occup Health. 2019 Sep;61(5):368-377. doi: 10.1002/1348-9585.12063. Epub 2019 May 13.

The effects of a 120-minute nap on sleepiness, fatigue, and performance during 16-hour night shifts: A pilot study.

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Graduate School of Biomedical & Health Sciences, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan.
Department of Nursing, Nihon Fukushi University, Nagoya, Japan.



To investigate sleepiness, fatigue, and performance following a 120-minute nap during simulated 16-hour night shifts based on subjective and objective assessments.


Fourteen females participated in this crossover comparative study. Three experimental nap conditions were used: naps from 22:00 to 00:00 (22-NAP), 00:00 to 02:00 (00-NAP), and 02:00 to 04:00 (02-NAP), respectively. Measurement items were sleep parameters, sublingual temperature, a Visual Analog Scale for sleepiness and fatigue, a single-digit mental arithmetic task (for 10 minutes), and heart rate variability. Participants wore an ActiGraph to estimate their sleep state.


There was no difference in the sleep parameters at the time of naps among the three conditions. Immediately following a 120-minute nap, sleepiness and fatigue increased, and the number of calculations performed in the single-digit mental arithmetic task decreased in any of the conditions. In particular, immediately after the 02-NAP, fatigue and high-frequency power (HF) were higher than after the 22-NAP. In the early morning (from 05:00 to 09:00), in the 22-NAP, sleepiness and fatigue increased, and performance and sublingual temperature decreased more than in the 00-NAP and 02-NAP. Furthermore, the ratio of errors was significantly lower in the 00-NAP than in the 22-NAP in the early morning.


A 120-minute nap taken from 22:00 to 02:00 may cause temporary sleepiness after waking, increase fatigue and reduce performance. Greater attention should be given to naps taken at a later time (ie, 02-NAP). In addition, taking a nap starting at 00:00 might decrease the risks of errors in the morning.


fatigue; nurse; occupational stress; shift work schedule; wakefulness

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