Relationship between napping during night shift work and household obligations of female nursing personnel
Aline Silva-Costa,1,2 Frida Marina Fischer,1 Rosane Harter Griep,2 Lúcia Rotenberg2
1School of Public Health, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; 2Laboratory of Health, Environment and Education, Oswaldo Cruz Institute (Fiocruz), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Abstract: Night shift employment involves displacing sleep to the daytime. For female workers, the opportunity for daytime sleep is influenced by routine housework demands, which aggravates sleep deprivation. Allowing naps to be taken during the night shift of work is a frequent practice at some hospitals and can help reduce the effects of sleep deprivation. We hypothesize that an association between domestic work and the length of naps during night work exists for nursing professionals. To test this hypothesis, two cross-sectional studies were conducted in two different hospitals. In Study 1, female workers answered questionnaires regarding sleeping habits, professional work, and housework demands. In Study 2, data regarding napping during shifts was obtained by actigraphy, a noninvasive method of monitoring the human sleep–wake cycle. The demand for the performance of housework was measured by (i) domestic work hours (total time spent performing domestic work per week), and (ii) domestic workload, which considers the degree of sharing domestic tasks and the number of people living at home. The populations from the two studies were subdivided into groups, based on the duration of napping at work. Data on naps were analyzed according to domestic demands, using the Mann–Whitney and Chi-squared tests. Among the two study populations (Studies 1 and 2), those in Study 2 were older, had shorter professional weekly work hours, worked more night shifts, and dedicated more time to housework. Significant associations were only found in Study 2, where greater time napping at work was associated with both greater time spent doing housework and greater domestic workload. The known benefits of napping during night shifts seem to be especially relevant for female workers who are more sleep-deprived from working more night shifts and who have higher demands for housework.
Keywords: gender, night work, domestic work, sleep, women
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