The impact of night shift on working memory performance: A pilot study

Alireza Moselm, Somayeh Zamirinejad, Fatemeh Ghezeli, Arash Akaberi


Introduction: Lack of sleep can have profound effects on performance. Nurses provide services hostelry and the possibility of errors in their job increases. It has been assumed that the rate of medical errors on the night shift may be because of the decline in executive functions of the prefrontal cortex. So the aim of this pilot study was to assess changes in working memory performance before and after the night shift.

Method: This prospective observational study was conducted in hospitals of Sabzevar. 20 shift-worker nurses, 6 men and 14 women were selected by proportional stratified sampling. In order to evaluate the performance of working memory, the auditory form of WMS software was administered. Independent and paired t test, Pierson correlation coefficient and Linear mixed effect models were used for data analysis.  The data analysis was done with Stata 14 IC. P-value was considered 0.05.

Results: The results showed that changes in working memory and its components have not been significantly affected by the night shift. In addition, changes in working memory and its components during this period weren’t significantly different between men and women; and these changes were not associated to age. The negative correlation between age and memory components shows a lower level of working memory in older ages.

Conclusion: Working memory and its components of nurses do not significantly change over one night shift.



working memory, night shift, shift-work, nurse.

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