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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sleep, Pain, and Hospital Workers

The health care employment sector is increasing as the US becomes an "aging nation" of seniors. Safety of health care workers is a growing concern. Today's post was shared by NIOSH Transportation and comes from

We know that decreased sleep duration and extended shifts in healthcare workers are linked to workplace injuries.  The effects of decreased sleep on pain in the workplace are less clear. 

New research from the Harvard Center for Work, Health and Wellbeing  –one of four NIOSH Centers of Excellence funded to explore and research the concepts of Total Worker Health™- examines the question: Does lack of sleep increase pain and limit function among hospital care workers?   

The study, published in the American Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, finds that sleep deficiency (including short sleep duration, insomnia symptoms, sleep insufficiency, or all three) is significantly associated with pain, functional limitations of daily living tasks due to that pain, and difficulty performing work tasks due to that pain, among hospital care workers. These effects may impact productivity or the ability to perform demanding health care work such as patient handling.

This study is in agreement with a growing body of research linking poor sleep with pain. For example, laboratory studies have shown that restricting sleep duration can increase reports of new pain, consistent with the higher pain reports associated with insomnia. Other studies have shown that sleep-deprived persons respond differently to a standard pain...
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