The Fatigue Insider Blog


Jul 19, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

Have you ever taken off on a quick relaxing get away, only to come home feeling worse than when you left? Air travel can significantly contribute to fatigue, due to dehydration. Despite the latest generation of aircraft switching back to electrical compressors to pressurise the cabin, flying at cruising altitude can still be dryer than the Sahara Desert.

So how do we increase hydration whilst 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 and keep our fluids up with our favourite, 1above. Not only is it packed with electrolytes, it also tastes good and is conveniently available as an effervescent tablet or ready in liquid from airports around the world.

Our other go to is Humidiflyer, a filtered mask designed for air travel, which traps the expired moisture from your breath. When you breathe in, that moisture is used to humidify the dry cabin air. On the down side, it’s really obvious when you’re using it and you may cop a few stares from fellow passengers and crew members. But if you’re anything like us and happy to explain yourself, give Humidflyer a try as we can definitely vouch for it effectiveness!

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

The world's largest sleep study needs you!

Jun 28, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

Dr Adrian Owen, a renowned neuroscientist from Western University in Ontario, Canada, has very recently launched the world's largest sleep-and-cognition study to help understand the effect sleep and sleep deprivation has on our brains. 

Researchers aim to better understand why the brain craves sleep and what happens to our thinking abilities when we don't sleep well or enough. There is currently little global-scale research into exactly how our brains deal with these sleep deficits.

Study participants are asked to track their sleep over a 3-day period while playing a set of scientifically valid tests of brain function. Sleep values and performance data will be available for participants to view and compare with other volunteers throughout the 6-month study. 

For more information on the study, or to sign up to participate click =>here<=. 

At ISS we have recently been conducting several large studies on helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft pilots around the world. Specifically, we have been collecting objective sleep and performance data, as well as self-reported sleep and fatigue data. If you would like more information about the types of data we can collect contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn or comment below.

Is night shift affecting your weight?

May 10, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

Pizza, chocolates, chips. Sound familiar? Having worked lots of night shifts ourselves, we understand the peril of trying to stay awake when our bodies are telling us that we're meant to be asleep. Snacking to stay alert and awake is quite common amongst night shift workers, however, what and when we eat can prove to be detrimental to our health.

A study led by Dr Kenneth Wright from the University of Colorado showed that those who are awake at night may have decreased insulin sensitivity, resulting in a lot more insulin being released to keep their blood sugar levels normal. This was because the body, naturally determining it is meant to be asleep, is not prepared for food intake during the night. Additionally, sleeping during the day burns fewer calories than at night, increasing the risk of developing health issues such as obesity and diabetes.

The findings of the study also suggest that "increased food intake during periods of insufficient sleep is a physiological adaptation to provide the energy needed to sustain additional wakefulness; yet when food is easily accessible, intake surpasses that need".

Give junk food a miss on night shift and instead opt for a balance of healthy protein and complex carbs. Light meals that are low Glycaemic Index (GI) GI and low in sugar are best. For example, natural yoghurt and fresh berries, hummus and veggie sticks, boiled eggs and salad, or minestrone soup. Also, ensure you keep your hydration levels up by drinking water.

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



Helping our sleep-deprived teens

Apr 26, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

Large amounts of homework and busy social (including social media) lives are the reason teens are night owls, right? It may add to the reason, however, biological sleep patterns shift later for both sleeping and waking during adolescence. Also, during this time, teens require about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to function well at school, in sport and in life.

The majority of teens do not get enough sleep and although the reasons are complex, an increased use of the internet, as well as staying up late to complete homework would most definitely contribute to the issue. 

Recently, a college student wrote about their role as a campus tour guide, pointing out the 24-hour library and explaining that you're not a true college student "until you’ve seen the sun rise from one of the library’s windows.” There's a sense of pride or achievement amongst students when they pull an all-nighter.  

It is imperative that schools, colleges and universities discourage students from staying up all night and ensure sleep is recognised as a public health issue. Great steps have been taken by some universities around the world to install temporary nap rooms and sleep pods on campus. 

For more information on teens and sleep, visit the National Sleep Foundation here. Additionally, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn or comment below.



Split shifts - who's responsible for fatigue?

Apr 20, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

It was recently reported in Australia that airport ground handling staff were concerned about their fatigue levels and the implication it could have on airport safety. Staff are reportedly sleeping in sub-optimal conditions at the airport between working split shifts.The organisation under the spotlight roster 4-hour shifts, which include early morning starts and late finishes. Due to the nature of the employees' permanent part-time contract, they are not guaranteed a predictable roster pattern. In a city like Sydney where the cost of living is extremely high, employees are staying at the airport for up to 5 hours before commencing their next shift, in order to minimise time and financial loss.

This situation raises the question - who is responsible for Fatigue Management in this safety-critical role?

To read the original news article, click here. For more information on Fatigue and Airport Safety, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn or comment below.




Drive safe this long weekend

Apr 13, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

It's a long weekend in Australia this weekend and for many of us, this means jumping in the car and heading on a road trip. Being a short week, working longer days to cram a week's worth of work in is the status quo. Come the long weekend, you're exhausted but you've promised the family that you'll hit the road tonight to make the most of the short break. A coffee or two should be enough to keep you going, right?

Studies have shown that a driver who has slept for less than 5 hours has a crash risk comparable to someone drunk driving. In fact, sleeping 4 hours or less in a 24-hour period could increase your crash risk by up to 11.5 times. Despite drowsy driving being viewed as an unacceptable behaviour, the AAA Foundation in the USA found that one in three people surveyed admitted that at least once in the past month they had driven so tired that they struggled to keep their eyes open.

It's really important to get a good night's sleep before driving. If you're already driving when you begin to become drowsy, pull over for a power nap and ensure you give yourself enough time to wake up prior to setting off on the road again. 

For more information on Fatigue and Road Safety, visit the Transport Accident Commission website here. Additionally, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn or comment below.



You snooze, you win!

Mar 21, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

Sports fever is upon us this month, with the US National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament and the Australian Football League just kicking off, amongst many other International sporting events.

Sports scientists from around the world have suggested that adrenaline, lactic acid clearance and other biochemical factors are far from the only variables affecting performance (and subsequent fatigue) amongst athletes. Many athletes have secondary jobs or other significant responsibilities, and of course, their personal lives, to factor into their routines. International sporting teams often hire sleep specialists to have one-on-ones with athletes, not only to teach them about the role of sleep in preparation and recovery, but also to review their home sleeping environments and offer simple but effective suggestions.

Football clubs including Real Madrid and Manchester City have fitted their training complexes out with specially designed bedrooms for their players and staff to sleep in prior to a game and during training events. Manchester United also have sleep pods installed at the training grounds for players to nap between training sessions.

If you are responsible for performance of a major sporting club, please contact us to find out how we could support your success. 




The challenge of Fatigue in Firefighters

Mar 07, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

The firefighting season in the southern hemisphere has been in full swing, with devastating blazes burning across countries including Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina.

Fighting fires is a physically and mentally demanding job, to say the least. This is not only for the teams on the ground but also for the crew working in the air. ISS recently had the opportunity to work with firefighting helicopter pilots in Spain who explained the complexities of their roles during the season. Working 21 days straight, either in the air or on the ground is standard industry practice, followed by no more than a fortnight spent at home resting. It is therefore no surprise that studies show the quantity of sleep obtained on days worked by firefighters is significantly limited compared to their days off.

In addition to full-time professional firefighters, many countries have the support of volunteers during the season. However, this is not the case in Chile where there have been extreme ongoing fires recently, and where the majority of firefighting roles are voluntary. As a general rule the volunteers would have competing priorities for their sleep and recovery, such as work commitments and parenting. Another factor in the peak of campaigns is the availability of adequate rest areas in order for them to nap and sleep. 

For more information about this research, please comment below or contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.


Fatigue at Managerial & Executive levels

Feb 21, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

Fatigue is frequently experienced by workers within many industries, at all levels. For managers and executives, arduous days, after-hours phone calls, overflowing email inboxes, and unremitting commercial pressures mean that work hours are excessively long and stressful. This can lead to unhealthy lifestyle choices including poor diet and lack of sleep in order to fulfil expectations.

Unfortunately, fatigue is seldom an issue that is discussed or taken into account at these levels of businesses. It is because excessive work is sometimes revered (despite plenty of hard evidence that it makes you less effective)? Or perhaps it is because errors made in the office don't lead to physical injuries, broken equipment or environmental spills? Another possibility is simply that managers and executives are happy to talk about topics related to high and improving performance, but not anything that might indicate they are humans and get impaired at times.  

One resource that we have found of value is a film titled ‘Grounded’, which was produced by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States. Although the film is now getting a bit dated, it still clearly illustrates how managers in the Aviation industry are just as prone to fatigue as pilots.


If you or your organisation is interested in reducing the risk of fatigue in office staff, including those at managerial and executive levels, please contact us or leave a comment below.



Late Spanish nights not as alluring as they seem

Feb 15, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

We spent some enjoyable time this month working with a client in Spain. Although we were working mostly with around-the-clock staff, when it came to normal working hours and daily factors that can effect sleep, we noticed vast cultural differences to what we are used to (and what others in many parts of the world are used to).

Pressing deadlines, travel and clients' operational demands can sometimes see us working beyond the standard 9-5. However in Spain, working late seems to be the norm. This culture of long working days, with up to 2 hours for a lunch break, is something that we were told stems from the Franco era. Spain’s local time was shifted to the right by an hour, which was seen as convenient by the many Spaniards who worked two jobs to make ends meet.

As for after-work activities such as dining out, attending a football game or watching prime time TV, things kick off rather late in Spain. It is unheard of for a restaurant to open before 8pm, and as for evening entertainment, don't expect anything until at least 9pm! 

Studies have shown that the Spanish sleep approximately an hour less than their European counterparts, which has led to a campaign initiated by a private health insurance organisation called ASISA. The hashtag #Duerme1horamas (or #Sleep1hourmore) is advertised throughout Spain to educate and encourage people to better manage their sleep, in order to help shift a cultural norm. The video below explains a poor sleep routine can lead to hypertension, tachycardia, depression, memory loss, obesity and diabetes.

For more information, leave a 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