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The Fatigue Insider Blog

Remembering Dr Rob Lee AO

Aug 28, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

Long-time aviation safety and human factors expert Dr Robert Lee AO sadly passed away in April this year at 74 after a battle with cancer.
 
An authority in aviation psychology and human factors, his professional work has been of great value to flight safety and across various modes of transport worldwide. He will be remembered as a dedicated public servant, a successful international diplomat, a towering figure in his field, as well as a loving family man and lead guitarist in Canberra band ‘Mid-Life Crisis’.
 
Dr Rob Lee was appointed senior psychologist with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1976. In 1983 he joined the Bureau of Air Safety Investigation (BASI) as its first human factors specialist. He established and developed BASI’s capability in human factors, systems safety and research and later became director. In 1999 he was appointed director of human factors, systems safety and communications of the newly established Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).
 
A spokesperson from the ATSB said of his leadership, “he transformed the Bureau from a largely reactive investigative agency to an innovative multi-skilled organisation that also concentrated on proactive accident prevention and safety enhancement.”

His contributions to aviation safety are immeasurable, but the millions of Australians who travel on a plane each year do so safely becuase of Dr Rob Lee.

Dr Adam Fletcher was honoured to be invited to memorialise Dr Rob Lee at the Safeskies 2019 conference. He will be speaking at the Dr Rob Lee Memorial & System Safety/Human Factors Panel Session on the 16th of October in Canberra.
 
Dr Adam Fletcher will also be at the PACDEFF 2019 conference in the Gold Coast. On the 3rd of September, he will do a presentation on what we can learn from pilots’ sleep data; as well as a workshop on the 5th of September on designing and implementing a Fatigue Risk Management System.
 
On September 10th, he will chair a session on shiftwork and disease at WTS’ Twenty-Fourth International Symposium on Shiftwork & Working Time in Idaho.

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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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