Circadian misalignment remains a distinct challenge for night shift workers. Variability in individual sleep-wake/light-dark patterns might contribute to individual differences in circadian alignment in night shift workers. In this simulation study, we compared the predicted phase shift from a mathematical model of the effect of light on the human circadian pacemaker to the observed melatonin phase shift among individuals who completed one of four interventions during simulated night shift work. Two inputs to the model were used to simulate circadian phase: sleep-wake/light-dark patterns measured from a wrist monitor (Simulation 1) and sleep-wake/light-dark patterns measured from a wrist monitor enhanced by known light levels measured at the level of the eye during simulated night shifts (Simulation 2). The estimated phase shift from the model was within 2 hours of the observed phase shift in ~80% of night shift workers for both simulations; none of the model-predicted phase shifts was more than ~3 hours from the observed phase shift. Overall, the root-mean-square error between observed and predicted phase shifts was better for Simulation 1. The light input from the wrist monitor informed by actual light level measured at the eye performed better in the sub-group exposed to bright light during their night shifts. The findings from this simulation study suggest that using a mathematical model combined with sleep-wake and light exposure data from a wrist monitor can facilitate the design of shift work schedules to enhance circadian alignment, which is expected to improve sleep, alertness, and performance.

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Journal: Chronobiology International. 2020 Sep 5:1-8.

Keywords: circadian phase, Circadian rhythm, DLMO, light exposure, melatonin phase, phase shift, shift work,

Applications: Chronobiology,

CamNtech Reference: M20043

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