But it is not just the inconvenience of a disturbed sleep pattern that can impact on shift workers, research shows that night shift workers are more at risk of accidents.
In a new national collaborative study being conducted by UniSA’s Centre for Sleep Research with Monash University in Melbourne and the University of Sydney, researchers are exploring how different kinds of light may impact on shift workers.
“Keeping people awake and alert on night shift is extremely important for their overall safety,” Associate Professor Sally Ferguson says.
“We want to test certain kinds of lighting to see if they provide an alerting stimulus that will keep workers more on the ball and make their shifts safer.”
Prof Ferguson says the centre is searching for male and female volunteers who regularly work night shifts.
“We asking our volunteers to come in and do a simulated nightshift in our sleep lab in the city. Half of the group will do the ‘shift’ under normal overhead lighting and the other half will work under a special lighting array.
“During their time in the lab we will be testing measures of performance, sleepiness and mood in each of the groups and then we hope to compare results from both styles of lighting.”
Prof Ferguson says that while there has been a lot of research into the impact of lighting on worker productivity, this research is targeted at improving safety and hopes to define aspects of lighting that may improve workplace safety for shift workers from a range of different industries.
Volunteers will receive a financial compensation for their involvement.
Anyone interested in contributing to this important study can volunteer by telephoning (08) 8302 1975 or registering online