Perception versus Reality: The Relationship between Subjective and Objective Measures of Sleep When On-call under Simulated Laboratory Conditions

M. Sprajcer, G. E. Vincent, S. M. Jay, A. Vakulin, L. Lack, S. A. Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: On-call working arrangements have been shown to negatively impact sleep. However, workers may perceive their sleep to be worse than it actually is. The aim of this study was to compare participants’ pre- and post-sleep estimates of sleep duration and sleep quality with objectively measured sleep when on-call under laboratory conditions. Participants: 72 healthy, adult males. Methods: Analyses were performed on three interrelated studies, all of which consisted of four nights in a sleep laboratory. Following adaptation and baseline nights were two on-call nights (sleep opportunity 23:00 h–07:00 h). Before and after each sleep opportunity, participants provided subjective estimates of sleep. Sleep was objectively measured using polysomnography. Results: Estimated sleep duration (6.74 ± 1.13 h) and sleep onset latency (20.55 ± 14.85 min) were significantly poorer than objectively measured sleep outcomes (sleep duration 7.21 ± 1.25 h; sleep latency 13.20 ± 10.06 min). Of the variance in post-sleep estimated sleep duration, 14% was associated with objectively measured minutes of N3 (R2Δ = 0.55) and REM (R2Δ = 0.75). Additionally, 14% of post-sleep sleep quality estimation variance was associated with minutes of N2 (R2Δ = 0.60) and N3 (R2Δ = 0.79), measured by polysomnography. Conclusions: Some objective measures of sleep were associated with subjective estimates of sleep duration and sleep quality. However, individuals may overestimate sleep onset latency and underestimate sleep duration during on-call periods. It may be beneficial for on-call workers to actively reflect on feelings of fatigue/alertness for workplace fatigue management, rather than relying solely on estimates of sleep.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalBehavioral Sleep Medicine
Early online date24 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • sleep quality
  • on-call work
  • perception
  • Reality
  • objective measures
  • simulated laboratory conditions

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