Bright environmental light improves the sleepiness of night shift ICU nurses

This article by Griepentrog and others was published in Critical Care in November 2018.
Background:  Shift work can disturb circadian homeostasis and result in fatigue, excessive sleepiness, and reduced quality of life. Lighttherapy has been shown to impart positive effects in night shift workers. Wesought to determine whether or not prolonged exposure to bright light during anight shift reduces sleepiness and enhances psychomotor performance among ICUnurses.
Methods:  This is a single-center randomized, cross over clinical trial at a surgical trauma ICU. ICU nurses working a night shift were exposed to a 10-h period of high illuminance (1500-2000 lx) white light compared to standard ambient fluorescent lighting of the hospital. They then completed the Stanford Sleepiness Scale and the Psychomotor Vigilance Test. The primary and secondary endpoints were analyzed using the paired t test. Ap value <0.05 was considered significant.
Results:  A total of 43 matched pairs completed both lighting exposures and were analyzed. When exposed to high illuminance lighting subjects experienced reduced sleepiness scores on the Stanford Sleepiness Scalethan when exposed to standard hospital lighting: mean (sem) 2.6 (0.2) vs. 3.0(0.2), p = 0.03. However, they committed more psychomotor errors: 2.3 (0.2) vs.1.7 (0.2), p = 0.03.
Conclusions:  A bright lighting environment for ICU nurses working the night shift reduces sleepiness but increases the number of psychomotor errors.

The full text of this article is freely available via this link.

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