Home-EEG assessment of possible compensatory mechanisms for sleep disruption in highly irregular shift workers - The ANCHOR study

Lara J. Mentink (Corresponding author), Jana Thomas, René J.F. Melis, Marcel G.M. Olde Rikkert, Sebastiaan Overeem, Jurgen A.H.R. Claassen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Study objectives While poor sleep quality has been related to increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, longtime shift workers (maritime pilots) did not manifest evidence of early Alzheimer’s disease in a recent study. We explored two hypotheses of possible compensatory mechanisms for sleep disruption: Increased efficiency in generating deep sleep during workweeks (model 1) and rebound sleep during rest weeks (model 2). Methods We used data from ten male maritime pilots (mean age: 51.6±2.4 years) with a history of approximately 18 years of irregular shift work. Subjective sleep quality was assessed with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). A single lead EEG-device was used to investigate sleep in the home/work environment, quantifying total sleep time (TST), deep sleep time (DST), and deep sleep time percentage (DST%). Using multilevel models, we studied the sleep architecture of maritime pilots over time, at the transition of a workweek to a rest week. Results Maritime pilots reported worse sleep quality in workweeks compared to rest weeks (PSQI = 8.2±2.2 vs. 3.9±2.0; p<0.001). Model 1 showed a trend towards an increase in DST% of 0.6% per day during the workweek (p = 0.08). Model 2 did not display an increase in DST% in the rest week (p = 0.87). Conclusions Our findings indicated that increased efficiency in generating deep sleep during workweeks is a more likely compensatory mechanism for sleep disruption in the maritime pilot cohort than rebound sleep during rest weeks. Compensatory mechanisms for poor sleep quality might mitigate sleep disruption-related risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. These results should be used as a starting point for future studies including larger, more diverse populations of shift workers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0237622
Number of pages12
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume15
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Alzheimer Disease/prevention & control
  • Cohort Studies
  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilots/psychology
  • Sleep/physiology
  • Sleep Deprivation/diagnosis
  • Sleep Disorders, Circadian Rhythm/diagnosis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Work Schedule Tolerance/physiology

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