The Fatigue Insider Blog

Do energy drinks give you wings?

Feb 16, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

Energy drinks – there’s no doubt that consuming them will make you feel more awake and alert in the short term, but no amount of added vitamins or supplements are going to turn them into a healthy option for boosting energy levels. Laden with high amounts of caffeine and sugar, these drinks certainly wreak havoc with your sleep. 

Consumption of energy drinks can lead to:

  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Drowsiness throughout the day
  • Energy spikes and crashes

A study conducted with college students showed that consuming 3 or more energy drinks per week increased daytime dysfunction due to sleep loss, decreased sleep duration and increased the use of sleep medication amongst the students.

Although many energy drinks contain similar amounts of caffeine per 250ml as a cup of coffee, many of these drinks are sold in larger servings and therefore have higher amounts of caffeine. In addition, a standard energy drink generally contains more sugar than the recommended 25 grams per day!

For more information on energy drinks, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or comment below.

Around the world in... 52 hours?

Feb 09, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

The team at ISS are seasoned travellers, working with clients and attending events around the globe. We may have a few around the world trips under our belts, however we certainly aren’t breaking any records like Andrew Fisher.

Andrew, an airline executive, recently circled the globe, flying 3 different airlines in a record-breaking 52 hours and 34 minutes. His trip begun in Shanghai, where he boarded a flight to Auckland, then Buenos Aires and Amsterdam before returning to Shanghai.

Having been in transit for a short total of 5.5 hours, Andrew admitted that travelling continuously is emotionally and physically taxing. When we are travelling long distances, we like to:

  • Plan our trip in a westerly direction where possible
  • Give ourselves enough downtime to shift our circadian clock once we arrive at our final destination
  • Use light and melatonin to help shift our circadian clock
  • Keep hydrated throughout our journey

For more information and tips on travelling, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or comment below.





Cheeky little night cap

Jan 17, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

It’s a busy time of year, with work for most of us getting back into the swing of things! It’s very tempting to finish the day with a little night cap before bed. Alcohol can certainly make you sleepy, however, it’s important to remember that the quality of alcohol-induced sleep isn’t fantastic.

Although alcohol can reduce the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep, it in fact initially acts as a stimulant, inundating the brain with endorphins. Once this stage wears off, alcohol begins to act as a sedative, causing you to feel drowsy and increasing the amount of deep sleep during the first half of the night.

The second half of the night is where disturbances in your sleep begin. These include:

  • Overheating
  • Snoring
  • Sweating
  • Increased need to go to the bathroom

To help ensure you get a good nights rest, we would recommend to keep drinks right before bed to a minimum and ensure you hydrate while drinking.

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

Happy New Year!

Jan 10, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

As 2018 begins, I wanted to send a brief update message on recent and future activities that you may be interested in.

The team and I successfully completed major projects throughout 2017 in seven countries (Australia, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom). The major sectors we worked in included: Airlines, Helicopter Emergency Medical Services, Transport/Logistics, Healthcare, Maritime, Energy and Government Agencies. We also sponsored and participated in the 10th International Conference on Managing Fatigue in the United States, and the 23rd International Symposium on Shiftwork and Working Time in Australia. We hosted an ISS Fatigue Insider Seminar in Australia, and started planning for similar activities in the Asia-Pacific region for 2018.

We remain committed to contributing ideas, solutions and metrics related to risk-based Fatigue Management. While our activities increasingly rely on monitoring technologies, and an array of data analytics methodologies, it is really human workforces that are at the heart of why we are so passionate about what we do.

Please feel free to contact me directly anytime, for information about future events or possible projects we could add value to.

Finally, thank you for your ongoing support and interest in our work.


Seasonal Affective Disorder

Dec 20, 2017 ISS Comments (0)


The winter solstice is fast approaching in the northern hemisphere, and the days are becoming shorter and colder. It is quite normal to be feeling the winter blues at this time of year, but some people experience a more extreme and seasonal form of depression that interferes with things like their mood and sleep. This condition is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and is believed to be caused by a decrease in light exposure during the winter months.

The body’s circadian rhythm depends immensely on sunlight, and when it’s not in abundance during the winter months, disruptions to the biological clock can be experienced. With lower vitamin D absorption, and lower serotonin and melatonin production, the following can be experienced:

  • Low energy and mood
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in weight and appetite
  • Disrupted sleeping patterns
  • Fatigue

During the winter months, we recommend to get as much sun as possible, stay active and ensure you don’t sleep for more than 7-9 hours a night.

For more information on seasonal affective disorder, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn or comment below.


Coffee Nap

Dec 13, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

We are currently in South America, home to some of the largest producers of coffee worldwide. For coffee lovers like us, we’re in caffeine heaven! We often like to use caffeine when napping, and find it works a treat for those mid-afternoon siestas!

Sleep and coffee – odd combination? It takes approximately 20 minutes for the effects of caffeine to kick in. Therefore taking a quick nap immediately after drinking a cup of coffee, should result in you reaping the benefits of your caffeine boost upon your awakening.

A study of drivers found that combining caffeine with a nap worked better than either caffeine or napping on their own. This combination eliminated the mid-afternoon slump that was observed in other drivers.

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


Working & Sleeping at High Altitudes

Dec 06, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

We’re currently in Bogota working with a client, where the elevation is 2640 metres above sea level, slightly above 8300 feet. High altitude is considered as altitudes above 8000 feet, where the air pressure is lower, and the percentage of oxygen in the air is significantly reduced. This makes working and sleeping invariably difficult, especially if you have not given your body a chance to acclimatise and are suffering from altitude sickness.

Common symptoms of altitude sickness include headaches, nausea and loss of appetite. Symptoms such as shortness of breath and irregular breathing are also common, creating sleep disturbances and increasing levels of fatigue.

To acclimatise adequately to our current elevation, researchers suggests that approximately two weeks is required. Now we thought we were doing it tough until we discovered ALMA – an observatory in Chile that sits at an elevation of 5050 metres above sea level, which is roughly 16,500 feet. Working at this altitude exposes people to rapid and intermittent low oxygen levels that can cause problems such as acute mountain sickness, excess production of red blood cells, brain swelling, acute pulmonary oedema and sleep disorders.

Our tips to get well adjusted so you can work (or play!) and sleep at high altitudes include:

  • Arriving at least a few days earlier to acclimatise
  • Keep your meals light to assist with your slower digestive system
  • No strenuous exercises
  • Keep hydrated and steer clear of alcohol

For more information on fatigue at high altitudes, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn or comment below.

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.



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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