IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Rotating shifts for police officers: study on complementary preventive approaches for fatigue reduction


Rotating shifts put more stress on the body than night work because they force the biological clock to constantly readapt to a new work/sleep schedule. The authors have already shown that an intervention combining intermittent exposure to light therapy lamps during the night, the wearing of dark glasses in the morning, and maintaining a stable sleep schedule during the day can significantly improve the adaptation of the body rhythms of nurses working a regular night shift.
This time, they tested complementary fatigue management approaches on police officers in patrol cars working on rotating shifts. These schedules are complicated by the variable exposure to light and darkness. One of the tested interventions consisted of using portable light therapy lamps during night shifts, the wearing of orange coloured glasses in the morning, and maintaining a regular sleep/darkness schedule on the day following the night shifts.
The authors noted more stable psychomotor performances during the week of night work for the participating police officers. The circadian adjustment was more rapid for them than for their colleagues, without however producing a significant difference between the groups. The changes obtained are relatively modest, which is explained in part by a lower exposure than expected to the light therapy lamps during the night. A higher degree of circadian adjustment or psychomotor performance during night shifts was nevertheless associated with the tested intervention.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 0099-2340
Status: Completed
Year of completion: 2010
  • Diane B. Boivin (Institut universitaire en santé mentale, Centre de recherche Hôpital Douglas)
  • Madeleine Bourdouxhe (IRSST)
  • Paul Massicotte (IRSST)
  • Thierry Petitjean-Roget (IRSST)