Title: PHILIPS RESEARCH: Split-sleep schedule in shift workers

Type of assignment: MA (combi internship/ master-assignment)

Internal or external?: external: location Philips research in Eindhoven

Maximum number of students Yes; 1 student

Individual collecting of data? Yes

Type of research: quantitative: Sleep research (actigraphy, questionnaires), neuropsychological tests (psychomotor vigilance task)

Description of the assignment:

Shift work is associated with daytime sleepiness, and decreased alertness, work productivity and quality of life. In addition, relations have been found between shift work and a number of negative health effects. Besides the obvious disruption of circadian function, a major factor modulating aforementioned associations is the reduction of total sleep time in shift workers. It has been shown that, even in equal sleep opportunities, total sleep time after night shifts is significantly decreased as compared to total sleep time after day shifts.

A possible solution for shift workers to increase total sleep time after a night shift may be to adhere to a ‘split sleep’ schedule. This means creating two or more sleep opportunities in a 24-h period eventually resulting in an increased total sleep time.

However, adherence to a split sleep schedule appears to be difficult and needs adequate coaching of a user and proper timing of the user’s sleep in order to achieve the most optimal effects. Therefore, this study attempts to explore how shift workers should be advised, whether an implemented split-sleep schedule improves sleep and consequently cognitive performance, and what the experienced benefits and burdens are of a split-sleep schedule in a user’s daily life.

Description of Research Internship

Based on a monthly shift schedule, 20 (of a total sample of 40 nurses) nurses will be advised to adapt to a split sleep schedule. The remaining 20 nurses will not receive any advice and are asked to sleep as they would normally do. During this month, sleep will be measured via a sleep wake diary and a Philips Actiwatch 2. During the night shifts, sleepiness will be evaluated 3 times (beginning of the night shift, mid night shift and close towards the end of the night shift) via the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale and the Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT).

You will participate in all stages of the research process. After formulating hypotheses and research questions about the topic, you will test the participants, analyze the data that are obtained and finally, you will write a thesis about the results.

Who are we looking for? A student with an interest in working with shift workers, an interest in statistical analysis and data collection, preferably fluent in Dutch.

More information?:

Tim Leufkens or Tim Weysen, Brain, Behavior and Cognition, Philips Research, High Tech Campus 34, Eindhoven, tim.leufkens@philips.com / tim.weysen@philips.com

Supervisor: Dr. Erik Taal

Additional This assignment can only be fulfilled as a combination of an internship and master-assignment