Circadian cortisol profiles and psychological self-reports in shift workers with and without recent change in the shift rotation system.Biol Psychol. 2007 Jan; 74(1):92-103.BP
Cortisol profiles including the cortisol rise in the first hour after awakening (CAR) were assessed during shift work and days off (eight saliva samples per shift). Participants were 102 healthy permanent day and night shift workers (comparison groups) and former permanent day and night shift workers after implementation of a new fast-forward rota including morning, evening, and night shifts. Results show that the CAR is detectable in day as well as night shifts. In permanent night workers cortisol profiles appear to be blunted during night work and days off. However, circadian cortisol profiles are not disturbed in former night workers who recently switched to the fast rotating shift schedule. In contrast, implementation of night work in former day workers seems to lead to initially blunted cortisol profiles that normalize after a short adjustment period. Results of a psychological assessment including exhaustion, chronic stress, effort-reward imbalance, and ratings of sleep quality and sleep length are also presented.