Daily stress and sleep associations vary by work schedule: A between- and within-person analysis in nurses

Danica C. Slavish, Jessica R. Dietch, Heidi S. Kane, Brett A. Messman, Odalis Garcia, Joshua F. Wiley, Yang Yap, Kimberly Kelly, Camilo Ruggero, Daniel J. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Nurses experience poor sleep and high stress due to demanding work environments. Night shift work is common among nurses and may exacerbate stress–sleep associations. We examined bidirectional associations between daily stress and sleep, and moderation by recent shift worker status and daily work schedule among nurses. Participants were 392 nurses (92% female; 78% White, mean age = 39.54, SD = 11.15) who completed 14 days of electronic sleep diaries and actigraphy. They simultaneously completed assessments of daily stress and work schedule upon awakening (day shift vs. night shift [work between 9 p.m.–6 a.m.] vs. off work). Participants were classified as recent night shift workers if they worked at least one night shift during the past 14 days (n = 101; 26%). In the entire sample, greater daily stress predicted shorter self-reported total sleep time and lower self-reported sleep efficiency that night. Shorter self-reported and actigraphy total sleep time and lower self-reported sleep efficiency predicted higher next-day stress. Compared with recent night shift workers, day workers reported higher stress after nights with shorter total sleep time. Stress-sleep associations mostly did not vary by nurses’ daily work schedule. Sleep disturbances and stress may unfold in a toxic cycle and are prime targets for tailored interventions among nurses. Night shift workers may be less susceptible to the effects of short sleep on next-day stress. Research is needed to understand the short- and long-term effects of shift work and address the unique sleep challenges nurses face.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13506
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
Volume31
Issue number3
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • actigraphy
  • health care workers
  • multilevel modelling
  • shift work
  • sleep diaries
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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