Jan 1, 2008

A blog for Shiftworkers and their Managers

In the spring of 1995, I co-founded Circadian Information with Dr. Martin Moore-Ede, a world-renowned expert on circadian alertness and fatigue. Our intent was to create a publishing business that would serve the growing number of businesses that operated 24/7, to help them improve the health, safety, and alertness of their employees. We also had some publications for individual shiftworkers, to help them and their family members successfully handle the demands of an atypical work schedule.

We published the Shiftworker Family Calendar (now the Working Nights Family Calendar), Shiftwork Alert (a monthly newsletter for managers in 24/7 operations), Working Nights (a monthly newsletter for shiftworkers and their family members), Alertness on Track (for railroad workers), and numerous booklets and management reports. We were fairly successful at that and these publications, now part of Circadian Technologies, Inc., continue to this day.

I have never lost my interest in the subject of alertness and performance for shiftworkers and others who work at night. I have also always been aware that the type of expert information we published at Circadian Information, is only one piece of the puzzle. That's why I founded the National Shiftwork Information Center.

Shiftworker-to-shiftworker help and advice is an important element. A lot of this stuff is not rocket science but it can take a little while to learn. I'm creating this blog -- the National Shifwork Information Center -- to provide a forum for shiftworkers to share information among themselves. We will talk about important topics like sleep, napping, diet, caffeine/stimulants, lifestyle, human physiology, human factors, work performance, safety, and whatever else you want to discuss. I'll also provide links to other online resources I find that you might find useful.

Although I've covered this topic for a long time I don't know all the answers. But, I know that somewhere out there, someone does. And, your feedback on my posts, your suggestions, your critiques of other web resources, will all help make this a more valuable resource for you and the millions of people who work at night. So let's hear from you.

Note about the term "Shiftworker"
For lack of a better word, I tend to use the word "shiftworker" to describe anyone whose schedule has them working more than half of the time outside of the 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. time frame. I realize that includes the factory and utility workers we tend to think of as shiftworkers, but it also includes healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, technicians, etc.), transportation workers (pilots, flight attendants, ground crews, railroad engineers and conductors, truck drivers, merchant mariners, etc.), public safety (police, firefighters, military, secret service, etc.), and many others who need to be able to maintain alertness in the overnight hours to ensure effective and safe performance.

Please tell your friends and colleagues about this resource. It exists to help you, and them, improve health, safety, and quality of life. I hope that sounds pretty good. And it's free!

Ed Coburn
Executive Director and Blogger-in-Chief
National Shiftwork Information Center

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