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Doctors should nap during night shifts, conference hears

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: (Published 24 November 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i6255
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. BMJ Careers

Researchers at a conference on the effect of sleep on fitness to work discussed how sleep deprivation can affect patient safety and doctors’ training. Abi Rimmer reports

Junior doctors working night shifts should be allowed to take regular short naps, says Jim Horne, a sleep neuroscientist and emeritus professor of psychophysiology at Loughborough University.

Horne was speaking at a conference held at the Royal Society of Medicine in London on 16 November about the effects of sleep deprivation on workers. He told the conference that a lack of sleep could affect a person’s ability to work and deal with emergencies.

Speaking to BMJ Careers, Horne said that “there’s absolutely no doubt” that junior doctors should be allowed to take short naps. He said, “It’s safer for everyone concerned; it makes the doctor safer to work, it improves patient safety, it reduces accidents, and …

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