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Changes in the diurnal rhythms of cortisol, melatonin, and testosterone after 2, 4, and 7 consecutive night shifts in male police officers

Tidsskriftartikel - 2016

Resume

Night work is associated with a large range of acute health problems and possibly also health consequences in the long run. Yet, only very few field studies specifically investigate the effects of consecutive night shift on key physiological regulatory systems. In this field study, we investigated the effects of consecutive night shifts on three hormones, melatonin, cortisol, and testosterone, among police officers at work. More specifically, the aim was to investigate how the diurnal rhythms of melatonin, cortisol, and testosterone responded to two, four, and seven consecutive night shifts and a corresponding number of days for recovery. The study was part of the "In the Middle of the Night" project and included 73 male police officers from five different police districts. The participants were exposed to three intervention conditions: "2+2": two consecutive night shifts followed by two consecutive day recovery days; "4+4": four consecutive night shifts followed by four consecutive recovery days; "7+7": seven consecutive night shifts followed by seven consecutive recovery days. On the last day with night shift and the last recovery day in each intervention, the participants collected saliva samples every 4th hour when awake. The diurnal rhythms of melatonin, cortisol, and testosterone were all affected differently by an increasing number of consecutive night shifts: the amplitude of the melatonin rhythm was suppressed by 4.9% per day (95% CI 1.4-8.2% per day; p = 0.006). The diurnal rhythm of cortisol phase was delayed with an increasing number of night shifts by 33 min/day (95% CI 18-48 min per day; p

Reference

Jensen MA, Hansen ÅM, Kristiansen J, Nabe-Nielsen K, Garde AH. Changes in the diurnal rhythms of cortisol, melatonin, and testosterone after 2, 4, and 7 consecutive night shifts in male police officers. Chronobiology International 2016;33(9):1280-1292.
doi: 10.1080/07420528.2016.1212869

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