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Effect of sleep disorders on the efficiency of mental activity and the functional state of surgeons in conditions of daily shifts

ISSN 2223-6775 Ukrainian journal of occupational health Vol.16, No 4, 2020

Effect of sleep disorders on the efficiency of mental activity and the functional state of surgeons in conditions of daily shifts

Bobko N.A., Dovgopola S.P.

https://doi.org/10.33573/ujoh2020.04.293

SI "Kundiiev Institute of Occupational Health of the NAMS of Ukraine", Kiev, Ukraine

Full article (PDF), RUS

Introduction. Night work is accompanied by a forced shift in sleep to daytime hours, a reduction in its duration and a decrease in quality, which leads to a deterioration in the efficiency of activities, an increase in fatigue and sleepiness at work. In the conditions of daily shifts, surgeons must constantly maintain high performance with high personal responsibility for the health of patients in critical conditions. Their work is classified according to the highest hazard category by the factor of work intensity (Class 3.3).

Purpose of the study was to reveal peculiarities of the effect of sleep disorders on the efficiency of mental activity and the functional state of surgeons in conditions of daily shifts.

Materials and methods of investigations. 34 surgeons aged 24-62 years old (M ± m: 42.41 ± 1.90) were examined using computer testing of psychophysiological functions and subjective assessment of the functional state using questionnaires. Two complaints of sleep disturbances were studied: (1) light sleep and (2) sleep loss due to anxiety.

Among the surveyed, 2 groups of people were identified - complaining (group 1) and not complaining (group 2) of light sleep, and 2 groups - complaining of loss of sleep due to anxiety (group 3) and not complaining (group 4). Mathematical and statistical data processing was conducted using standard software packages at the p <0.05 level.

Results. 59% of those surveyed complained of each type of sleep disorder. At the same time, 38% complained of both types of sleep disorders, 41% complained of one of the types, 21% did not complain. When performing a test for short-term memory, persons complaining of light sleep made 2 times more mistakes than those who did not complain (3.37 ± 0.50 and 1.57 ± 0.37, p <0.008). The minimum time spent on solving a complex test task in the time pressure mode was three times longer in the first persons than in the second ones (482.58 ± 117.41 and 157.67 ± 33.14 ms, p <0.015). The performance of the tests did not differ significantly among the groups of people who complained or did not complain of sleep loss due to anxiety.

More marked tension was revealed in persons complaining of light sleep, compared with those who did not complain (p <0.018); mainly - due to mental stress (p <0.018). More noticeable fatigue was found in persons complaining of loss of sleep compared with those who did not complain (p <0.009), and also - mainly due to mental fatigue at the level of a pronounced tendency (p <0.059).

Conclusion. Sleep disorders of different nature are accompanied by different changes in the efficiency of mental activity and subjective assessment of the state. Light sleep affects the efficiency of mental activity to a greater extent (p <0.01) than sleep loss due to anxiety (p> 0.05). Sensitive sleep can result in deterioration in the quality of realizing a truly cognitive function - short-term memory (p <0.01) and deterioration in the maximum attainable speed of information processing in a time pressure mode (p <0.02).

Sensitive sleep is accompanied by an increase in subjectively felt tension (p <0.02), whereas sleep by loss to anxiety - by an increase in subjectively felt fatigue (p <0.01) already at the beginning of the work. In both cases this is mainly due to a mental component, which can be related to mainly mental character of surgeons’ work, which is assessed according to the highest class of tension (Class 3.3) by the acting Hygienic Classification of Work.

In order to maintain occupational work ability and preventing development of unfavorable functional states in surgeons working in daily shifts, preventive measures are needed, including improving sleep hygiene. Complaints of sleep disorders help to distinguish the most vulnerable group of people among the surveyed, requiring attention and preventive measures first of all.

Key words: sleep disturbance, mental activity, surgeons, cognitive functions, memory, fatigue, questionnaires.

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