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The Fatigue Insider Blog

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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Is fatigue costing your business?

Mar 06, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

 

Fatigue can be a hidden risk in the workplace, costing businesses millions of dollars a year. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, it is estimated that 7.4 million Australian adults do not regularly get the sleep they need, resulting in productivity losses of $17.9 billion.

Lack of sleep significantly reduces productivity within the workplace through absenteeism, presenteeism and decreased engagement. This also increases the risk of errors and injury in the workplace.

Fatigue can impact those who:

  • Sleep fewer hours than recommended (due to work and/or personal factors)
  • Shift work
  • Frequently work extended hours
  • Travel for work
  • Work multiple jobs

Things you can do to reduce the likelihood of fatigue in the workplace include:

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


 

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Mental health & sleep

Jan 30, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

There is a close relationship between mental health and sleep. Poor sleep can be both a symptom and a cause of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Therefore living with a mental health condition can affect the quality and quantity of sleep, which in turn can have a negative impact on your mental health.

The vicious cycle of lack of sleep leads to one being tired throughout the day, making it difficult to cope with day-to-day life. The inability to cope lowers one’s self-esteem, increasing stress and again leading to lack of sleep.

Sleep disorders, such as insomnia, are often experienced by those suffering from mental health conditions. Insomniacs sleep less overall and do not spend adequate time in the deeper parts of sleep, including REM. The REM stage of sleep is a restorative part of our sleep cycle, providing emotional and cognitive benefits. REM sleep allows us to regulate our emotions, maintain our memory capability and make good judgments. Without REM sleep, we tend to be moodier & irrational, suffer from memory lapses and are more inclined to make poor decisions. It’s easy to see how important REM sleep is, particularly for those suffering from mental health conditions.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are a type of medication that is most commonly used to combat depression and anxiety and essentially increase serotonin in the brain. A recent study on those who take SSRIs has shown that the medication is more effective on people who are early risers compared to night owls. It is believed that night owls tend to have more irregular schedules and are also exposed to less light in the morning and more in the evening, resulting in out of sync circadian rhythms. SSRIs boost how the body clock responds to light. Therefore, irregular schedules and light exposure would make SSRIs less effective. Along with seeking professional medical support and making lifestyle changes, we would suggest ensuring morning natural light exposure where possible, as well as keeping a more consistent schedule where possible.

If you are suffering from sleep disorders and mental health issues, do not hesitate to see your doctor. For more information, contact us via Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter or comment below.
 

 

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Sleeping under the midnight sun

Dec 12, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

Humans are diurnal, meaning we are normally programmed to sleep during the night and are active during the day (unlike our koala friends). Our circadian rhythm is regulated through our optic nerves. Our bodies are signalled to stay awake when light enters our eyes and triggers communication via our optic nerves. When light wanes and we enter darkness, our brains are prompted to produce and release the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. Without darkness, our body doesn’t know when to produce/release melatonin. 

So what happens when you're exposed to constant light?

The summer solstice in Australia is fast approaching. However, unlike our clients and friends in the northern hemisphere, we don't get to experience perpetual daylight during summer! In places like Scandinavia, their summer break allows for fun and excitement after long, cold and dark winters. But being exposed to light when one should normally be experiencing a nocturnal period, can lead to sleep deprivation and other sleep-related health issues. This seems to be more of an issue for us as visitors than it is for the locals. We can definitely vouch that the lack of darkness completely threw our sense of time out the window. If it wasn’t for block-out curtains, eye masks and melatonin there is no doubt a zombie transformation would have occurred!

For those in the southern hemisphere, enjoy your summer downtime! And for our friends in the north, your time in the sun will come (in precisely 6 months!).

For more information on light and circadian rhythms, read our previous blog posts here:

Alternatively, 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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Fatigued cabin crew

Oct 03, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

The airline industry is a growing 24/7 operation, boasting an estimated 39 million flights to be flown worldwide by the end of 2018. Flying passengers across the country, or even across the globe, can create a variety of different challenges for cabin crew, including extended duty periods, highly variable schedules, possible frequent time zone changes, and increased passenger loads.

A study has shown a link between the job characteristics of cabin crew and fatigue. The graph below is an indication of the main work factors that contribute to fatigue amongst cabin crew workers, according to union representatives. Long hours and lack of rest are seen as the main offenders.


 

Other factors that may contribute to cabin crew fatigue include, but are not limited to:

  • Consecutive duty days
  • Length of layovers
  • Timezone changes
  • Delays
  • Availability for breaks
  • Availability of a healthy meal
  • Passenger disruption
  • Aircraft type swaps

In 2016, a bill was pass that requires airlines to provide cabin crew with a minimum 10-hour rest period between shifts, matching the requirement for pilots. The bill also included a requirement for cabin crew to be included in Fatigue Risk Management Systems, which until that point was only applied to pilots.

In Australia, there are currently no civil aviation regulations governing duty times and rest requirements for cabin crew. Their duty limitations are set contractually, and minimum standards are set by the country in which the cabin crew are employed. Cabin crew are our first responders to a safety event - is it time they are included in fatigue regulations?

 

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

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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