Effects of work-related sleep restriction on acute physiological and psychological stress responses and their interactions: A review among emergency service personnel

Alexander Wolkow, Sally Ferguson, Brad Aisbett, Luana C. Main

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Emergency work can expose personnel to sleep restriction. Inadequate amounts of sleep can negatively affect physiological and psychological stress responses. This review critiqued the emergency service literature (e.g., firefighting, police/law enforcement, defense forces, ambulance/paramedic personnel) that has investigated the effect of sleep restriction on hormonal, inflammatory and psychological responses. Furthermore, it investigated if a psycho-physiological approach can help contextualize the significance of such responses to assist emergency service agencies monitor the health of their personnel. The available literature suggests that sleep restriction across multiple work days can disrupt cytokine and cortisol levels, deteriorate mood and elicit simultaneous physiological and psychological responses. However, research concerning the interaction between such responses is limited and inconclusive. Therefore, it is unknown if a psycho-physiological relationship exists and as a result, it is currently not feasible for agencies to monitor sleep restriction related stress based on psycho-physiological interactions. Sleep restriction does however, appear to be a major stressor contributing to physiological and psychological responses and thus, warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-208
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cortisol
  • Cytokines
  • Mood
  • Psycho-physiological
  • Sleep
  • Stress

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