Sweet dreams in the North Sea

May 31, 2013, University of Bergen

Some workers in Norway's North Sea Oil industry alternate between night and day shifts, the so-called swing shift. A recent study conducted by Postdoctoral fellow Siri Waage and colleagues at the University of Bergen's (UiB) Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, shows that sleep quality and complaints of insomnia became worse during the offshore work period amongst both these swing shift workers and those who only do day shifts.

The study indicates that it isn't only the shift system itself, but rather long working days over a two-week period in the North Sea that affect sleep, says Siri Waage.

During a typical 14-day work period in the North Sea, the will work twelve hours a day whether doing night or .

Although offshore work influences the sleep pattern, there were no differences in subjective health complaints between the groups at the end of a work period than at the beginning, she says.

Around 200 roughnecks participated in Waage's study, which was recently published in the journal Industrial Health.

Even though there were minor variations between the groups, both groups of workers experienced poorer sleep quality and more complaints of insomnia at the end of a two-week work period offshore than they did at the beginning of the work period.

Waage wrote her doctoral thesis , sleep and health in the petroleum offshore industry at UiB in 2011. The aim of the thesis was to examine the relations between shift work, sleep and health amongst shift workers in Norway's .

While the relationship between shift work and adverse health has been well documented, there was until recently quite limited knowledge of the health impacts of offshore work.

Waage's thesis showed that 23 per cent of workers suffer from so-called shift work disorder (SWD), a circadian rhythm sleep disorder characterised by insomnia and excessive sleepiness affecting people whose work hours overlap with the typical sleep period.

In her thesis conclusion, Waage found that although many offshore workers suffered from SWD, many workers in Norway's petroleum industry seem to tolerate shift well.

Explore further: Shifting the safety balance for overnight workers

Related Stories

Shifting the safety balance for overnight workers

December 3, 2012
An international team of sleep researchers has developed the world's first screening tool to help reduce workplace accidents and illnesses, including cardiovascular disease and cancer, caused by shift work.

Many U.S. workers sleep-Deprived: CDC

April 26, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Many American workers get fewer than six hours of sleep each night, putting themselves and their co-workers at risk for serious and sometimes deadly consequences, federal health officials said Thursday.

Too little sleep, disrupted internal clock means higher risk of diabetes and obesity

April 11, 2012
A study by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) reinforces the finding that too little sleep or sleep patterns that are inconsistent with our body's "internal biological clock" may lead to increased risk of diabetes ...

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.