Date: 30 Dec 2011

Atypical work schedules are associated with poor sleep quality and mental health in Taiwan female nurses

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Abstract

Purpose

To investigate the effects of shift work schedules on sleep quality and mental health in female nurses in south Taiwan.

Methods

This study recruited 1,360 female registered nurses in the Kaohsiung area for the first survey, and among them, 769 nurses had a rotation shift schedule. Among the 769 rotation shift work nurses, 407 completed another second survey 6–10 months later. Data collection included demographic variables, work status, shift work schedule, sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), and mental health (Chinese Health Questionnaire-12).

Results

Nurses on rotation shift had the poor sleep quality and mental health compared to nurses on day shift. The nurses on rotation shift had a relatively higher OR of reporting poor sleep quality and poor mental health (OR, 2.26; 95% CI, 1.57–3.28; and OR, 1.91; 95% CI, 1.39–2.63, respectively). Additionally, rotation shift nurses who had ≥2 days off after their most recent night shifts showed significantly improved sleep quality and mental health (PSQI decreased of 1.23 and CHQ-12 decreased of 0.86, respectively). Comparison of sleep quality between the first and second surveys showed aggravated sleep quality only in nurses who had an increased frequency of night shifts.

Conclusion

Female nurses who have a rotation shift work schedule tend to experience poor sleep quality and mental health, but their sleep quality and mental health improve if they have ≥2 days off after their most recent night shifts. This empirical information is useful for optimizing work schedules for nurses.