Discussion Guide

Shift worker Intervention Focus Groups
Shift Work Supervisors
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What is a focus group?

How a focus group works

What will be discussed this evening?

We are not here to critique your workplace in particular, but we want to develop a sense of how the workplace in general could be improved to help employees to get better sleep and reduce their risk of driving while drowsy.

We asked you here because we would like to learn about your experiences. Specifically we are interested in getting your opinion about some specific areas related to improving sleep in night shift workers, how some programs might be implemented, whether you might expect some things to work or not work, and what things you can imagine might prevent some of these ideas from working.


Tell us your name, what you do, how many hours of sleep you get on an average night, and a quick story about how your lack of sleep may have affected you personally.

Discussion of the Need for Sleep

Statistics suggest that night shift employees average about 4 hours of sleep per night, compared with evening shift workers (7 hours) and day shift workers (8 hours).

  1. Does that surprise you?

  2. Do you think that occurs where you work?

  3. Do some people only require 4 hours of sleep?

  4. Do you think that would affect the quality of work on the night shift? The health and safety of your employees?

  5. Would knowing this help motivate you to seek changes in your employees sleep habits?

Discussion of Interventions

  1. Some studies suggest that allowing workers to be involved in setting work schedules helps workers acceptance of their schedule and allows them better control over their lifestyle and may help them to get more sleep.

  2. What role does good communication between employers and employees play in workers getting enough sleep?

  3. Some workers respond to external cues such as darkness in their sleep-wake cycle. One thing that may be helpful is to have bright lights in the work environment.

  4. Night shift workers tend to eat foods high in fat, which can cause them to become more drowsy and sluggish during and after work.

  5. Exercise or some moderate physical activity can help people to get regular sleep and maintain alertness.

  6. Do your employees take naps at the worksite?

  7. Many of the workers we talked with for this project were mothers who had difficulty managing their night shift responsibilities.

  8. In our previous discussions with shift workers, some told us they were concerned about people they work with becoming dependent on working overtime/late shifts (differential pay) to maintain their current lifestyle.

  9. One of the potential ways of communicating with a large number of employees is by distributing educational materials.

  10. Educational materials can be effective in changing people's attitudes and perceptions but they are not as effective in changing behavior?

Thank you and close.

Pass out participant information sheet and pose any questions from the backroom if there is time.

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