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Are short duration naps better than long duration naps for mitigating sleep inertia? Brief report of a randomized crossover trial of simulated night shift work  (2023)
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Objective: We sought to test the effects of different duration naps on post-nap cognitive performance during simulated night shifts.

Methods: We used a randomized laboratory-based crossover trial design with simulated 12-hr night shifts and each participant completing three conditions of 72 hrs each (Clinicaltrials.gov; registration # NCT04469803). The three conditions tested included no-nap, a 30-min nap opportunity, and a 2-hr nap opportunity. Naps occurred at 02:00 hrs. Cognitive performance was assessed with the Brief 3-min Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT-B). Four PVT-B measures include: reaction time (RT in milliseconds (ms)), lapses (RT > 355 ms), false starts (reactions before stimulus or RT <100 ms), and speed (1,000/RT). The PVT-B was performed at the start of the simulated night shift (19:00), end of shift (07:00), pre-nap (02:00), and at 0 mins, 10 mins, 20 mins, and 30 mins following the 30-min and 2-hr nap conditions. Simultaneously, participants reported subjective ratings of fatigue and other constructs.

Results: Twenty-eight (15 female), mostly certified emergency medical technicians or paramedics, consented to participate. For all three conditions, looking within condition, PVT-B lapse performance at the end of the 12-hr simulated night shift (at 07:00) was poorer compared to shift start (p < 0.05). Performance on PVT-B speed, RT, and false starts were poorer at shift end than shift start for the no-nap and 30-min nap conditions (p < 0.05), but not for the 2-hr nap condition (p > 0.05). Compared to pre-nap measures, performance on the PVT-B assessed at 0 mins post-nap showed significant performance declines for lapses and speed for both the 30-min and 2-hr nap conditions (p < 0.05), but not at 10, 20, or 30 mins post-nap. After waking from the 2-hr on-shift nap opportunity (at 0 mins), participants rated sleepiness, difficulty with concentration, and alertness poorer than pre-nap (p < 0.05). Participants in the 30-min nap condition rated alertness poorer immediately after the nap (at 0 mins) compared to pre-nap (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: While sleep inertia was detectable immediately following short 30-min and long 2-hr nap opportunities during simulated night shift work, deficits in cognitive performance and subjective ratings quickly dissipated and were not detectable at 10-30 mins post-nap.
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inertia, long, mitigating, naps, night, shift, short, sleep, work
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Prehospital Emergency Care, 27:6, 807-814
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Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Jessica Nowinski
Last Updated: August 15, 2019