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The Fatigue Insider Blog

Sleep deprivation: National Guard medical personnel

Aug 21, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

 

A new study in the Journal of Military Psychology of US Air National Guard medical personnel found that service members experienced levels of sleep restriction that resulted in significantly reduced cognitive effectiveness.
 
Part of the interest in studying National Guard personnel came from their unique position as service members who frequently have to transition from civilian to active-duty status, with their jobs often also incorporating shift work and long hours. As a reserve military force, most personnel have full-time civilian jobs outside of their military responsibilities. Depending on the nature of their military responsibilities, they may have to transition between these with very little rest in between, resulting in personnel who are very susceptible to showing up to active-duty already in a state of fatigue.
 
The authors of the study placed emphasis on the research showing that military personnel can often experience even greater fatigue-related risks than those associated with civilian groups like doctors or truck drivers. They attributed this the unique situations they are subjected to where “sleep opportunity is restricted, exacerbated by unique levels of physical and psychological stress, where consequences of error can be life or death.”
 
At the conclusion of the study, they delivered a sleep management workshop for National Guard Medical Personnel and found that members, as well as commanders, were highly receptive to the information provided. They concluded the study by advocating for the “necessity of targeted interventions to reduce fatigue-related harm to service members and the citizens they protect.”

 

Click here to read the full study by Lois James, Denise Smart, Tamara Odom-Maryon, Kimberly A. Honn & Stephanie Rowan.
 

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What is pink noise? Will it help me sleep?

Aug 14, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

You might have heard of listening to white noise to help you sleep (in case you haven’t, click here to read our blog post on it), but there is another colour of noise that has been getting the attention of researches recently.
 
Pink noise is similar to white noise, but instead of having equal power across frequencies, pink noise comes out louder and more powerful at the lower frequencies. Pink noise is often found in nature, such as waves lapping on the beach, leaves rustling in the trees, or a steady rainfall.
 
Both a 2012 study in the Journal of Theoretical Biology and a 2013 study in Neuron found that participants who listened to pink noise enjoyed an improvement in the length of deep sleep. The 2013 study also looked at the memory of participants who were able to recall almost twice as many word pairs shown to them the previous night after sleeping with pink noise.
 
Listening to pink noise could help you enjoy a deeper and more satisfying sleep, but you may need to experiment with different colours of noise to see which one works best for you. More research needs to be done to compare the effectiveness of pink noise as opposed to white and other colours of noise.

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Save your relationship with these sleep compatibility strategies

Aug 07, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

No matter how much you love your partner, sharing the bed with another person can come with a variety of issues! Millions of couples find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep next to each other, whether that be due to problems like snoring, moving too much in bed, differing sleep positions or even opposing circadian rhythms. Sleep problems with a partner can affect your relationship and make it hard for both of you to tolerate each other, so below are a couple quick fixes for the most common issues.
 
Snoring
This is a big one. Snoring can be indicative of sleep apnea, a condition that should be treated by a doctor. But in some cases, making changes like cutting down on alcohol close to bedtime, or avoiding sleeping on your back can be enough to do the trick. In the mean time, the non-snorers may have to surround themselves with an ear-protecting pillow fort!
 
You go to bed and wake up at different times
Whether this is due to conflicting circadian rhythms or different work schedules, it is unavoidable for many couples to find themselves on totally different sleep schedules. Rather than trying to force each other into working with the others’ sleep needs, both partners need to respect each other’s internal clocks and be considerate when it comes to making noise. Another part of respecting the others’ sleeping habits is reducing blue light exposure by making sure electronics don’t come into the bed while the other is trying to sleep. Making time for intimacy or to talk should be a neutral time where neither partner is exhausted.
 
You need different environments to fall asleep
It’s all about compromise. The couple where one likes to wake up to sunlight while the other needs it to be pitch black may have to consider an eye mask. The partner that can’t go to sleep without their white noise or music may have to invest in a pair of wireless ear buds. The age old fight about the thermostat can be addressed with a middle ground temperature. One partner may have to bundle up, while a bigger bed may appease the cold loving partner, who will be less affected by radiating body heat.
 
In the end, these fixes are fairly self explanatory and easy to implement. The hard bit is getting to a place where you can communicate with your partner about how they could change their habits so that you can get the sleep that you need. No one deserves to be suffering silence, not to mention how much better of a partner you’ll be if you’re well rested!

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Can Fatigue Monitoring Technology Boost Heavy Vehicle Safety?

Jul 31, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

Driver fatigue and distraction are still significant factors in heavy vehicle crashes. Recent industry data suggests that one in ten heavy vehicle crashes results from heavy vehicle driver fatigue.
 
Recognising that innovative solutions are necessary to combat this problem, The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is undertaking a trial of fatigue safety-related technologies to gain a greater understanding of how they work and are used.
 
The preliminary review of Fatigue/Distraction Detection Technology, released this month, has shown that the technology has the potential to boost heavy vehicle safety, but should be used as part of a Fatigue Risk Management System and not in isolation. Technologies used included fitness for duty tests, continuous operator monitoring, performance-based monitoring, and vehicle-related technologies.

The summary of preliminary report is available here, and we look forward to their final conclusions in June 2020!

 

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Burnout and Fast-Food workers: How is Shift Work Contributing to Fatigue?

Jul 24, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

With the discussion of burnout growing, it's not surprising that fast-food workers are among those facing increased stress and fatigue due to their jobs.

Emily Guendelsberger, author of On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane, recently wrote an article for Vox illuminating some of the new pressures that fast-food workers face; among them being scheduling and understaffing practices that contribute to a highly stressful and sometimes dangerous work environment.
 
Algorithms that use recent sales data to predict how much business to expect every hour of the week often determine worker’s schedules. This means that not only are workers’ schedules different week to week, but they may not receive a schedule until a day before it goes into effect. Guendelsberger also highlights scheduling practices like the “clopen”, where workers have back-to-back shifts closing late and opening early the next morning with only a few hours to sleep in between.
 
We know that rotating shift workers often experience a myriad of fatigue-related health and productivity issues. When these are combined with consistent understaffing and a stressful work environment, it not only creates a situation ripe for workplace accidents but also undermines the dignity of work.
 
While it may be impossible to eliminate shift work in the fast-food industry, encouraging the major players to develop fatigue management strategies that would improve the wellbeing of their employees would be the first step in decreasing burnout in fast-food workers.

 

 

 

 

 

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What is blue light?

Apr 03, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

Blue light is the higher energy, shorter wavelengths on the visible light spectrum. It occurs naturally, with the highest levels occurring during the middle of the day. Blue light is also emitted from devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers, and white-coloured LED lights.


 

So if it occurs naturally, blue light can't be that bad for us, right? Blue light is necessary to set and regulate our circadian rhythm, which is done so by photoreceptor cells in our eyes. Therefore, exposure to blue light during daytime hours is certainly a positive. We can also use exposure to blue light in the morning to advance our circadian rhythm, helping those who want to move their sleep to an earlier time - a great way to avoid jet lag!

But too much blue light exposure from our devices later on in the day and throughout the night can delay and disrupt our circadian rhythm, causing sleep disruptions and potential fatigue. Exposure to bright daylight outside may reduce the sensitivity of the circadian system to light exposure at night, but we still recommend to put your devices down before heading to bed, and perhaps relaxing with some tunes or a good book!

For more information on blue light, contact us via Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter or comment below.
 

 

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Is your clock running on time?

Mar 20, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

Here at ISS, we’re often on the road seeing clients. One thing we always pack is our exercise gear. Squeezing in a daily workout is a top priority, especially if we are overseas. We feel it helps with counteracting any jet lag we may have. And now, we have research to back us up!

A recent study has found that exercise can shift our circadian rhythm, with the direction and amount of this effect depending on the time of day or night in which we exercise.

The study involved examining exercise and melatonin levels in 101 participants for up to five and a half days. It was found that exercising at 0700 or between 1300 & 1600 advanced the body clock to an earlier time, and exercising between 1900 & 2200 delayed the body clock to a later time.

So if you’re looking to help minimise your jet lag, or even get yourself back in sync after a block of shift, get those running shoes on at those specified times!

 

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


 

 

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