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Work at sea: a study of sleep, and of circadian rhythms in physiological and psychological functions, in watchkeepers on merchant vessels. III. Rhythms in physiological functions



Work at sea: a study of sleep, and of circadian rhythms in physiological and psychological functions, in watchkeepers on merchant vessels. III. Rhythms in physiological functions



International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health 60(6): 395-403



Oral and rectal temperature, urinary excretion of adrenaline and noradrenaline, and heart rate were measured in 28 watchkeepers working a "4-on/8-off" routine, and in 25 dayworkers, on board ships. Readings of oral temperature were taken over 4-hourly periods of up to two weeks; the rectal temperature, urine, and heart rate data were collected on selected days within these periods. Analysis of watchkeepers' temperatures and unconjugated catecholamine excretions showed slight signs of an interactive adapatation to time of day and hours of work, but it was clear that full phase adjustment of the circadian rhythms to shifted hours of work did not occur. The "split" pattern of sleep imposed by the watch system may be a major factor in preventing complete adaptation of physiological rhythms to shift work in the shipboard situation; this problem could be overcome be devising a system that allows sleep to be taken in a single uninterrupted block each day.

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Accession: 006920819

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PMID: 3410549


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