University of Twente Student Theses


The effectiveness of and experience with an innovative split-sleep schedule in healthy nurses : a mixed method study

Stouwe, M.J. van der (2017) The effectiveness of and experience with an innovative split-sleep schedule in healthy nurses : a mixed method study.

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Abstract:Background: Shift work is currently becoming increasingly more common, however it has two major hazards: It increases the risk of occupational accidents and injuries, as well as the development of (chronic) disease. One of the contributing risk factors is sleep deprivation. It is known that a split-sleep schedule can be an effective countermeasure for shift workers with sleep deprivation. However, existing split-sleep schedules are not effective on successive night shifts or require significant work-environmental changes. This study therefore focussed on testing an innovative split-sleep schedule and exploring participants’ experiences with it by adopting the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB). Method: The sample consisted of 18 nurses who were randomly assigned to a split-sleep group (who were given sleep advice and slept 5/6 hours during the day and 2/3 hours during the evening) or to a consolidated group (who slept as they usually do). The following outcomes were observed: objective sleep (measured with the Actiwatch), alertness (measured with the PVT) and subjective sleepiness (measured with the KSS). After the study, participants were interviewed based on TPB in order to explore their attitudes, subjective norm, perceived behavioural control, and intentions for continuation. Results: Preliminary results show two trends. Firstly, the total sleeping time (TST) during two nights after the night-shift series was higher (p = 0.09) for the split-sleep group, indicating that this group slept more hours during the two nights after the night-shift series compared to the consolidated group. Secondly, the split-sleep group had fewer lapses during the night shift (p = 0.09), indicating higher alertness during the night shift compared to the consolidated group. Participants in the split-sleep group were generally positive and found it easy to follow the split-sleep schedule. Frequently named advantages were enjoying more of the day, finding it easier to plan meals and to eat and experiencing positive effects during the night shift. Important disadvantages that participants named were the influence on their social life, having to change daily schedule and being preoccupied with sleep. Participants found it easier to follow and were more probable to continue with the split-sleep schedule when it was personalized to the individual shift worker. Participants in the consolidated group were generally more negative, as they perceived some difficulty in following the schedule. In general, the consolidated group perceived the same advantages and disadvantages, however did not mention a perceived positive effect during the night shift. Two participants dropped out, as they were unable to sleep during the evening-sleep opportunity in the night-shift series. Conclusions: The innovative split-sleep schedule appears to be promising for the majority of shift workers. The split-sleep schedule is beneficial shortly after a night-shift series as well. Important implementation strategies are personalizing the split-sleep schedule and informing society about split-sleep and its advantages. However, current results are preliminary and further research is therefore needed.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Philips Research, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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