The Fatigue Insider Blog

Melatonin - should you use it?

Nov 17, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced in the human body by the pineal gland. It aids the body to regulate its circadian rhythm. Melatonin is produced in the evening, creating a natural drowsy effect in the body. During the day or throughout periods of light exposure, its production is suppressed.

At ISS, we use melatonin supplements for to adjust our circadian rhythm in order to manage our jet lag or to adjust to a certain shift schedule.

The dosage for melatonin supplements we use, varies depending on what we are using it for. If we are trying to nudge our circadian clock, we would generally take 0.5 milligrams per day. However to when adjusting to a new time zone to alleviate jet lag, 3 – 5 milligrams once a day is recommended.

Melatonin is available in tablet form, but we also recommend using Sprayable, a topical melatonin spray. Each bottle contains roughly 250mg of melatonin, which equates to the dosage being 0.05mg (or two sprays). We are a huge fan of this product, as less melatonin is better and using it topically is far more effective than orally.

For more information on melatonin, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn or comment below.

Exhausted medical staff

Nov 10, 2017 ISS Comments (0)


It’s a reasonable expectation that medical staff be well rested and fit for work, considering the critical, urgent and vital decisions that are made in hospitals. Being fatigued can endanger not only their lives but also those of their patients.


Recent results from an audit conducted by the Australian Medical Association has revealed fatigue-related statistics for doctors including:

  • One in two doctors (53%) are still working rosters that put them at significant and higher risk of fatigue to the extent that it could impact on performance, affect the health of the doctor and the safety of the patient
  • The number of interns working in the higher risk category has also increased by 11% in 2016 compared with the previous 2011 report.


The 2016 audit confirms that doctors at higher risk of fatigue typically work longer hours, longer shifts, have increased days on call, fewer days off and are more likely to skip meals. Several survey studies have been conducted and found that over 50% of anaesthetists claim to have made a fatigue-related decisions resulting in an error.


Doctors are not the only ones feeling the effects of fatigue. Results from a survey in Canada indicated that the top two factors relating to fatigue in nurses are increased workload and working short-staffed. Culture within the medical industry also has an effect on fatigue. Stoicism is common due to the nature of the work, resulting in fatigue often being overlooked.

For more information on fatigue in your work place, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn or comment below.




The witching hour

Nov 02, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

Are you waking up throughout the night, staring at the clock only to find it's 3 am? Spooky, right?

The witching hour stems back to an occult belief that the usual Halloween characters are out to play during a particular time of the night. However, waking up throughout the night is not as spooky as it may seem. Research has found evidence from recent history that suggests a period of wakefulness throughout the night was actually quite normal and commonly practiced in many cultures up until the late 19th century.

There are cultures in today's society that still practice a type of segmented sleep, albeit less obvious, such as siestas. There is also a belief that certain bodies are naturally made to have segmented sleep, and this may be the reason behind sleep disorders such as sleep maintenance insomnia.

For more information on sleep or sleep disorders, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn, or comment below.



Is your driver Uber tired?

Oct 20, 2017 ISS Comments (0)




The introduction of ride-sharing has seen an increase in people supplementing their primary income by becoming drivers.

Certain organisations offer incentives to drivers, encouraging them to accept more rides resulting in longer hours worked. Despite ride-sharing organisations having access to hours of driving data, it is not always actively managed, nor do they do not have any information about what the driver has been doing before jumping behind the wheel.

In February 2016, Uber issued a notice to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) announcing a new policy under which drivers would be temporarily deactivated once they reached a 12-hour driving limit. Uber drivers who exceeded the limit a second time would be deactivated permanently. At competitor Lyft, drivers are required to take a 6-hour break for every 14 hours they have been driving, whether they are consecutive or not.

Although these kinds of policies are a good step forward towards managing driver fatigue, they are not mandated globally and do not take into consideration any of the driver’s previous or future activities including other work.

For more information on driver safety and fatigue, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn or comment below.




Alyth Yard derailment

Oct 13, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

On the morning of the 18th February 2016, a Canadian Pacific Railway freight train derailed 13 cars in Alyth Yard, Canada. The train was only moving 4 km/h at the time, resulting in no injuries.

The investigation report published by the Transport Safety Board (TSB) identified fatigue as a contributing factor, stating "the locomotive engineer was likely fatigued due to poor-quality sleep in the 2 weeks prior to the occurrence and being awake for at least 23 hours at the time of the accident". The engineer involved had woken up early the day before the incident and was anticipating to be called to work that afternoon. However, he learned later on in the day that he wouldn't be called to work until the evening. Despite not being sufficiently rested, the engineer did not call in unfit for work due to fears of disciplinary action. 

Fatigue Management is a shared responsibility between employers and employees, including factors that are both internal and external to the work place. 


For more information on managing fatigue in  on-call work environments, click here to purchase tickets to our upcoming Fatigue Insider Seminar, or contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn.










Bad habits affecting your sleep

Oct 06, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

It’s been a long day at work, you’ve had a few coffees to keep you going and now you’re tucked into bed reading this from your personal device, right? We hope not!

Bad habits leading to poor sleep can diminish your attention, impair your memory and challenge your decision-making ability. What’s worse, chronic poor sleep can eventually lead to serious health issues.

It's widely known and accepted that the average adult requires roughly 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. However, with life's busy schedule and poor pre-bedtime habits, this amount of sleep is not commonly attained.

Habits that can sabotage our sleep include:

  • Not being active enough throughout the day
  • Exercising intensely too close to bedtime
  • Surfing the web on your mobile device
  • Working in bed
  • Drinking caffeine in the afternoon or evening
  • Late-night meals
  • A nightcap or two
  • Lack of routine

For more information on getting yourself into a good sleep routine, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn or comment below.


Two sleep nerds walk into a bar...

Sep 29, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

This week, Dr Adam Fletcher spoke to Ian Dunican, Director of Sleep4Performance and Researcher at the University of Western Australia (UWA), about all things sleep for on-call and standby workers. Adam and Ian also discussed the upcoming Fatigue Insider Seminar.

There are strong parallels between those high-performance individuals across sports and military, and workers in high-risk industries, particularly in relation to sleep, nutrition and mindset.

To listen to the podcast, click here.

For more information on the Fatigue Insider Seminar or to purchase tickets click here.

Beware of the Dark Side: Using light to reduce jet lag

Sep 22, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

At ISS, we’re frequently travelling overseas to work with clients, and it’s safe to say we’re self-proclaimed nerds when it comes to avoiding jet lag.

On the top of our must-do list for avoiding jet lag is using light, especially when crossing more than five time zones (or through hyperspace).

In practical terms, when travelling west, get bright light for an hour or more starting from when you would normally go to sleep. This aims to delay your sleep and (hopefully) allow you to sleep in and wake up closer to your new time zones social schedule.

When travelling east, you would ideally get up earlier than normal and expose yourself to bright light for an hour or more in the few days leading up to your travel. Also turn your lights and devices (e.g. smart phones, tablets) off early, at least two hours before the time you want to fall asleep. This aims to kick your sleep time and wake up time earlier, more aligned with the social cues further east of you.

If you don’t mind looking nerdy like us, we recommend the intergalactic-looking Re-timer LED glasses. If you want to avoid light at certain times during your travel, search online for blue blocking sunglasses or use an eye mask.

For more information on the use of light, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn or comment below.


High & dry: Keeping hydrated while flying

Sep 15, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

Have you ever taken off on a quick getaway intending to come home relaxed, only to get home feeling exhausted?

Air travel can significantly contribute to fatigue, due to dehydration (and also jet lag when relevant). Despite the latest generation of aircraft allowing for improvements in cabin humidity, flying at cruising altitude (e.g. 38,000 feet) can still be drier than the Sahara Desert.

So how do we increase hydration while flying? Drinking water is the obvious answer, but at ISS we like to up the ante!

When it comes to drinking and flying, we tend to keep the alcohol consumption low due to its diuretic effect (meaning it actively dehydrates you). We’re also big fans of the 1Above drinks and effervescent tablets, which includes the active ingredient Pycnogenol®.

For those of you not afraid of sporting a Darth Vader look, check out the Humidiflyer mask, designed to recycle moisture in your breath to increase overall hydration. Even Australian actor and model Phoebe Tonkin thinks it's cool!

Source: Instagram


For more information on travel fatigue and hydration, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn or comment below.


Sun, Sand, Sea... And Vitamin D!

Sep 08, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

This year, some of us at ISS have been fortunate enough to be working with clients in Europe, “forcing” us to soak up the rays of European summer!

Although technically a hormone and not a vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight exposure. Dr Stasha Gominak, a neurologist at the East Texas Medical Center has found that most of her patients had improvement in sleep, but only when vitamin D3 blood levels were between 60-80 ng/ml (which is 2-3 times higher than most official recommended levels).

In order for the majority of people to reach stable levels of vitamin D in this range, daily use of a supplement is required. To absorb vitamin D3 research has shown vitamin K2 is also needed, and are often found together in supplements.

For more information on vitamin D and sleep, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn or comment below.



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"For ten years we have been working internationally with Adam and the rest of the ISS team. They have directly supported the development of Zurich’s fatigue risk profiling methods, which measurably improve safety, insurance costs and reputation for our customers."

Grant JensenZurich Chief Risk Engineering Officer, Asia Pacific


"Integrated Safety Support are an essential contributor to our global fatigue management strategy and system. They have provided invaluable content for our training courses, completed advanced statistical analysis of data they helped us collect, and much more. Projects are always delivered professionally, on time, and on budget."

Captain Simon David StewartSafety Director, Mission Critical Services Babcock International Group


"In partnership with Integrated Safety Support, Airservices have built the most globally advanced system for managing human fatigue risks in Air Traffic Control. Our data-driven approach constantly works to maintain and enhance safety, while protecting operational flexibility."

Dr Claire MarrisonManager of Strategy, Systems & Analysis Airservices


"Adam Fletcher has been an invaluable contributor to the IPIECA/IOGP industry Fatigue Management workshops in Brazil, South Africa and Australia. In addition, the ISS team have generously provided insights and experience that significantly contributed to all of our current industry publications on Fatigue Risk Management."

Artemis KostareliManager - Health IPIECA/IOGP