Today's News / Health

Sleepy healthcare workers prone to pain, study finds

August 15, 2012
KEYWORDS harvard / healthcare / pain / sleep / study
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

hospitalA new study links lack of sleep among healthcare workers to pain and problems performing work-related tasks, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) science blog.

The study, published in the American Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found that insufficient sleep among hospital workers is significantly associated with pain, and through that, has an impact on the performance of work tasks, such as patient handling.

The study was conducted by Orfeu M. Buxton, PhD;  Glorian Sorensen, PhD, MPH of the Harvard Center for Work, Health and Wellbeing  –one of four NIOSH Centers of Excellence funded to explore and research the concepts of Total Worker Health™.

Ergonomic angle

“These findings are particularly noteworthy given the high risk of musculoskeletal disorders, pain and injury prevalent among healthcare workers,” note the study’s authors.

The annual incidence of back injury and pain in the nursing workforce ranges between 30% and 75%.  Nursing aides suffer more days away from work for back pain than any other occupation.

The study suggests that sleep may become “deficient” for a variety of reasons, including work factors such as nighttime shifts. Bodily pain, work interference from the pain, and functional limitations of daily living tasks may increase the likelihood of sleep deficiency.

Workplace interventions

The study recommends that comprehensive workplace interventions include a sleep deficiency component in assessments of modifiable outcomes. Research shows solid support that good sleep practices and behaviors improve sleep.

Dr. Buxton is Assistant Professor, Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Associate Neuroscientist, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Dr. Sorenson is the Director of the Harvard Center for Work, Health and Wellbeing and  Professor of Society, Human Development and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health

Click here to read the complete blog post.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

11/4/14 2:00 pm EST

Eye Injuries: You rarely see them coming. Practical Solutions for reducing injuries to the eye.

The 3M Eye Injury Reduction webinar will provide an examination of how to help solve eye injuries in the workplace. This issue continues to challenge virtually every industry, and the solution is often times multifaceted. 3M will share some new tools and approaches to help you in solving this issue.

ISHN Magazine


2015 January

Check out ISHN's first issue of 2015, which features articles about hearing protection as well as the State of the EHS Nation 2015 Survey.

Table Of Contents Subscribe


M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - January 2015



For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. 



Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.