Sleep and need for recovery in shift workers: do chronotype and age matter?

Hardy A. van de Ven*, Jac J L van der Klink, Céline Vetter, Till Roenneberg, Marijke Gordijn, Wendy Koolhaas, Michiel P. de Looze, Sandra Brouwer, Ute Bültmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study examined associations of chronotype and age with shift-specific assessments of main sleep duration, sleep quality and need for recovery in a cross-sectional study among N = 261 industrial shift workers (96.6% male). Logistic regression analyses were used, adjusted for gender, lifestyle, health, nap behaviour, season of assessment and shift schedule. Shift workers with latest versus earliest chronotype reported a shorter sleep duration (OR 11.68, 95% CI 3.31–41.17) and more awakenings complaints (OR 4.84, 95% CI 4.45–11.92) during morning shift periods. No associations were found between chronotype, sleep and need for recovery during evening and night shift periods. For age, no associations were found with any of the shift-specific outcome measures. The results stress the importance of including the concept of chronotype in shift work research and scheduling beyond the concept of age. Longitudinal research using shift-specific assessments of sleep and need for recovery are needed to confirm these results. Practitioner Summary: Chronotype seems to better explain individual differences in sleep than age. In view of ageing societies, it might therefore be worthwhile to further examine the application of chronotype for individualised shift work schedules to facilitate healthy and sustainable employment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-324
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • circadian rhythm
  • Munich Chronotype Questionnaire
  • shift work
  • work schedule tolerance


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