Effects of an alternating work shift on air traffic controllers and the relationship with excessive daytime sleepiness and stress

ABSTRACT Objective: To evaluate symptoms of stress and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) in air traffic control (ATC) officers in Brazil. Methods: Fifty-two ATC officers participated, based at three air traffic control units, identified as A, B and C. Stress symptoms were assessed using the Lipp Inventory of Stress Symptoms for Adults, and EDS by the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Results: The sample mean age was 37 years, 76.9% of whom were male. Excessive daytime sleepiness was identified in 25% of the ATC officers, with 84.6% of these based at air traffic control unit A, which has greater air traffic flow, operating a 24-hour alternating work shift schedule. A total of 16% of the ATC officers had stress symptoms, and of these, 62% showed a predominance of physical symptoms. Conclusion: The high percentage of ATC officers with EDS identified in group A may be related to chronodisruption due to night work and alternating shifts.