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Fatigue Management & Human Factors in our 24-hour Society
Fatigue Management & Human Factors in our 24-hour Society

The Fatigue Insider Blog

How much sleep do you need?

Dec 05, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

 

Our bodies are all different, and the same rings true for our circadian rhythms. Some of us tend to be morning people, able to be wide awake and functioning at the crack of dawn. Whereas some of us tend to be night owls, able to stay up until the late hours of the night (or early morning!). However, when it comes to how much sleep one actually requires to optimally function, the range is not as big.

In 2015, the National Sleep Foundation issued its new recommendations for appropriate sleep durations all age groups.


When calculating what time to go to bed, it really comes down to your circadian rhythm. Individual’s circadian rhythm could differentiate by hours. If two people were to both go to bed at the same time, one could be sleeping at the perfect biological time and the other at an adverse biological time. Unfortunately, the easiest and best way to measure this is by testing melatonin levels through blood or saliva samples. The quality of your sleep heavily depends on the timing of sleep relative to your circadian rhythm. If you sleep at the right biological time, you'll get optimal recovery sleep. However, when you are sleeping at a non-optimal time, the quality of sleep reduces. An extreme example of this is when the circadian rhythm is disrupted, for example when jet lagged or working shift.

Our bodies respond well to routine. If you manage to find a bedtime that works best for you and achieve the amount of sleep your body requires, you might just find yourself waking up a couple of minutes before your alarm is scheduled to go off!

 

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

 

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Can cherries help you sleep?

Nov 28, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

Summer is knocking on our door down here in Australia, meaning cherry season is upon us! Cherries are one of the few natural foods that contain melatonin - the hormone that regulates our circadian rhythm. Research shows that consuming foods containing melatonin increases the levels of the hormone produced by the pineal gland in our brains

So how many cherries should we be eating to aid a good night’s sleep?

Several studies have been conducted within the last two decades that have shown cherries (including juice) contain moderate to significant amounts of melatonin, helping those who suffer from insomnia or who are jet lagged.

Try a handful of cherries for an evening dessert and let us know if it works for you.

For more information on melatonin, read our previous blog post here. Alternatively, contact us via Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter or comment below.  

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Making scents of sleep

Nov 14, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

 

The use of scents to aid sleep goes back to ancient times. In ancient Egypt things such as henna, frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon & cypress were burned to help induce sleep and enhance dreams. In Rome, the use of chamomile was common to help one relax. Fast forward a couple thousand years, and we are seeing growing research exploring the ability of odours to promote sleep

Thus far, research has mostly focused on lavender, with studies suggesting that exposure to it prior to sleep can:

Scents that are scientifically proven to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality include:

  • Lavender
  • Vanilla
  • Valerian
  • Sandalwood
  • Juniper
  • Lemon
  • Bergamot
  • Frankincense
  • Ravensara
  • Marjorum
  • Chamomile
  • Geranium
  • Rose
  • Ylang Ylang

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

 

 

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Fatigue Risk Management in EMS

Oct 31, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

Fatigue continues to be a widespread problem for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel. Both mental and physical fatigue can affect EMS personnel, due to the intensity of the job and working shifts, which we know disrupts normal patterns of sleep and circadian rhythms. Studies have found significantly higher levels of fatigue and mental health issues amongst paramedics, as well as significantly poorer sleep quality compared to other industries.

Near misses and accidents involving EMS personnel, where fatigue was a contributing factor, continue to occur. Earlier this year, an Emergency Medical Technician in the USA was killed when the technician driving the ambulance fell asleep at the wheel, colliding into another vehicle.

Evidence-based Guidelines for Fatigue Risk Management in EMS were recently published in the Prehospital Emergency Care journal recommend:

  • The use of fatigue surveys to measure and monitor fatigue in EMS personnel
  • Shifts to be shorter than 24 hours in duration
  • Access to caffeine as a fatigue countermeasure
  • The opportunity to nap while on duty in order to mitigate fatigue
  • Education and training on fatigue-related risks
 
The guidelines also remind us that fatigue management is a shared responsibility between EMS personnel and employers.

For more information on fatigue risk management in EMS, contact us via Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter or comment below.


 
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REM - The sleeping brain's favourite tune

Oct 24, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

"When the day is long... And the night, the night is yours alone" to sleep a full 7-8 hours! Although it may seem like your body ‘shuts down’ during sleep, it is an active time for your brain and many physiological processes. During sleep, your brain goes through different stages, with some lighter stages of sleep (referred to as stages 1 and 2), and some deeper stages of sleep (stages 3 and 4). There is also a fifth stage of sleep known as rapid eye movement sleep, or REM sleep. It is during this stage that your heart rate increases, your breathing becomes more irregular and dreams are most likely to occur.

A normal night-time sleep period occurs in cycles of approximately 90 minutes. The duration of sleep stages within each cycle changes throughout the night and varies person to person. Typically, a sleep cycle will begin with a period of non-REM sleep followed by a very short period of REM sleep. The duration of REM sleep increases with the cycles while you are sleeping. Throughout a full night's rest, the average person will spend 20-25% of their sleep in REM.


REM sleep is the restorative part of our sleep cycle. It is very important for emotion regulation and memory and is also the peak of protein synthesis at the cellular level, which keeps many processes in the body working properly. Decreased sleep duration interferes primarily with REM sleep and dreaming since the body devotes deeper non-REM sleep to shorter hours of sleep. A recent study has shown that REM sleep loss is associated with increased inflammatory responses, increased risk for obesity, and memory problems.

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

 

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Driver fatigue - it's not all about microsleeps

Oct 17, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

A lot of us have been fatigued behind the wheel and battled to keep our focus on the road. We've relied on the usual tactics to try to keep ourselves awake including winding the windows down and belting out our best rendition of Madonna as it's blaring through the speakers (ok, maybe just some of us!). Nodding off, or experiencing microsleeps, is really the worst case scenario. But being fatigued while driving can be enough to impair you alone, without actually experiencing a microsleep. 

Someone who is fatigued will often experience slower reaction times, reduced ability to concentrate and delays in interpreting information. Driving in this state could easily result in a traffic incident or accident. 

The human body will naturally cycle through intervals of sleepiness and alertness, better known as the circadian rhythm. The window of circadian low (WOCL) is a period between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. for those adapted to a usual day-wake/night-sleep schedule. During the WOCL, a reduction in physical & mental performance, alertness and body temperature. We also experience a low in the circadian rhythm in the afternoon, known as the postprandial dip, commonly referred to as the post-lunch dip or siesta time. According to the New Zealand Government's Ministry of Transport, fatigue-related fatal and serious injury crashes peak during the WOCL and postprandial dip.

To avoid driver fatigue, we recommend to:

  • Avoid driving during periods when you would normally asleep
  • Allow yourself some time to wake up from your sleep before driving
  • Share the driving where possible
  • Plan breaks every 2 hours when driving for long periods of time
  • Have a coffee nap (read our previous blog post here)

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


 


 

 

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