Shedding Light on Night Shifts: Preliminary Study Results

Shedding Light on Night Shifts: Preliminary Study Results

Night shift workers are the unsung heroes that maintain the essential functions of our society, from saving our lives to powering our industries, ensuring that the world keeps turning, even after the sun sets. However, it comes at a cost – disrupted sleep, constant fatigue, lack of quality time with friends and family, and negative impacts on overall well-being. Not having a good quality of sleep also hurts  the integrity and efficiency of critical operations that rely on the vigilance of night shift workers.

At Lumos, we are set to support and improve the lives of those who have tirelessly served our society. With fundings from the Department of Defense, we developed the Lumos Mask and conducted a counterbalanced, double-blinded, within-subject, placebo-controlled study to investigate the efficacy of the Lumos Mask in improving sleep quality and performance for night shift workers.

Study design: counterbalanced, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, within-subject comparison

The exploratory study involved a total of 15 night shift workers aged 18-65, each underwent five distinct rounds during the research:

  • No Device Round: This was the control phase, where participants experienced their regular night shifts without any sleep-enhancing devices.
  • Sham Program Round: this was the placebo-controlled phase,where participants used the Lumos Mask with a sham program, mimicking the use of active light programs but without actual light stimulation.
  • Active Light Program Round(s): this was the treatment phase, where the participants used the LumosMask with active light programs designed to help with night shifts.

Because participants may miss some of the nights when they are supposed to use the mask with active light programs, we also compare the data between participant testing rounds in which they used the mask with active light programs more often, with those they did not use the mask or did not use the mask with active light programs. 

Measures: sleep and performance

1. Sleep Quality:

  • Shift Sleep: How well did they sleep during those challenging night shifts?
  • Recovery Sleep: Did they catch quality ZZZs when transitioning from night shifts to day shifts?
  • Difficulty Remaining Awake: How difficult is it to stay awake during the commute home after night shifts?
  • The sleep quality was reported by survey and monitored by EEG-based sleep tracker Dreem as well as consumer-grade sleep tracker Fitbit.

2. Performance Metrics:

  • Alertness Level: How awake and alert were they during their night shifts?
  • Physical Functioning: Did they feel that they had more energy physically?
  • Cognitive Functioning: Did they feel that their brains perform better at work?
  • Emotional Functioning: What about their moods and stress levels?
  • Alertness level was measured by Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT), self-reported Karolinska sleepiness scale (KSS), and other self-reported surveys.

Study Findings

Although the study is still ongoing, we are excited to share some of the trends we observed in the preliminary data, with more information yet to come.

Trend #1: Higher alertness during night shifts 

We used Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT), which is a reliable method widely used in sleep research to assess reaction time and gauge an individual’s alertness and cognitive responsiveness. It is like a quick game that helps us measure how quickly someone can react to something. Imagine a simple task, like pressing a button as soon as a light blinks. PVT records how fast a person can do this, which tells us how alert and responsive they are.

We compared the reaction times in participants who used the mask with an active program more than 66% of the time and those who used the mask for less than 33% of the time (including no using the mask, using the mask with a sham program, and using the mask with active program for less than 33% of the time). Participants using the mask with active light program reported higher levels of alertness during night shifts, with shorter reaction times and less prone to distractions, compared to when they did not use the mask. 

Frequent mask users v.s. non and low-frequency mask users

Similarly, we also observed how often participants using the mask were correlated with their sleepiness at the end of night shifts. Participants using the mask more frequently reported less difficulty staying awake in their post-shift commute.

Sleepiness v.s. frequency of mask usage

Trend #2: Better physical, cognitive, and emotional performances

We asked the participants to rate their physical, cognitive, and emotional functioning at each night shift. We compared the self-rated scores in participants who used the mask with an active program more than 66% of the time and those who used the mask for less than 33% of the time (including no using the mask, using the mask with a sham program, and using the mask with active program for less than 33% of the time). Improved self-reported physical energy, cognitive function and emotional functions were observed among those using the Lumos Mask with active light programs more frequently, compared to those who did not use the mask or had active light programs.

Frequent mask users v.s. non and low-frequency mask users

Trend #3: Less sleepiness 

We also asked the participants to rate their sleepiness at a scale according to the Karolinska sleepiness scale (KSS), which is a widely used sleepiness assessment in sleep studies. We compared the self-rated scores in participants who used the mask with an active program more than 66% of the time and those who used the mask for less than 33% of the time (including no using the mask, using the mask with a sham program, and using the mask with active program for less than 33% of the time). As a results, participants who used the Lumos Mask with active light programs more frequently reported 33% less sleepiness by KSS when compared to those who did not use the mask or had active light programs.

Frequent mask users v.s. non and low-frequency mask users

Conclusion

The study examining the effects of the Lumos Smart Sleep Mask with active light programs on night shift workers has yielded preliminary data that suggests promising improvements in sleep quality and performance during night shifts. This innovative solution brings hope for enhancing the well-being and safety of night shift workers across diverse industries. As our research continues and we apply these findings in real-world scenarios, we anticipate the potential for a brighter future for those who tirelessly work through the night to keep our world functioning smoothly.

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