Sleep Drugs May Not Be Effective for Shift Workers, Researchers Say

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers say that workers who take popular sleep medications after working a night shift may not be receiving the benefits they hope for.

According to a Cochrane Review analysis of 4,651 past studies, melatonin only increased the average length of sleep time after a night shift by approximately 24 minutes. Additionally, the extra sleep workers gained was often low-quality sleep.

Other drugs, meant to help improve a worker's level of alertness when they are awake, including armodafinil and modafinil, were discovered to be slightly more effective than a placebo in decreasing sleepiness. However, researchers say, the effects of those drugs did not last an entire shift -- and side effects for use of both drugs get worse with higher doses.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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