Brain functioning and cognition on the night shift are predicted by rhythms, sleep drive and stress hormone
New publication from Bergen Stress and Sleep Group.
Today a new article from the Bergen Stress and Sleep Group entitled «cognitive function and brain plasticity in a rat model of shift work: role of daily rhythms, sleep and glucocorticoids» has been published in Scientific Reports. In this study we explore how shift work changes different brain processes. In general, night shift work is associated with increased risk of errors and accidents. However, not all individuals are at high risk. Some perform well on the night shift, and others do not. By using a rat model of shift work we wanted to find out what factors in the brain best predict individual cognitive performance during the night shift. The results show that both changes in circadian rhythms and sleep need predict performance on a cognitive task after simulated night shift work. Markers of brain plasticity were explained both by changes in circadian rhythms, sleep need and the amounts of stress hormone in the blood. We hope that these findings can open new research avenues into shift work and brain health.