I just finished reading this article that predicted adaptation to (night) shift using computational biology. I thought that this figure presented in the paper nicely captures the consequences of night shift work (shaded green) following some time off (shaded red) and a “day” of sleep (shaded blue). The second, third, and fourth rows are of greatest interest because they capture the accumulation of sleepiness that persists across a shift work schedule. Considering that a large proportion of people engaging in night shift work are in the health or manufacturing profession, do you really want these individuals to diagnose or treat you or operate heavy machinery?
Svetlana Postnova, Peter Robinson, Dmitry Postnov (2013). Adaptation to Shift Work: Physiologically Based Modeling of the Effects of Lighting and Shifts’ Start Time PLoS One