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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

Surviving a 19 hour flight

Nov 20, 2019 ISS Comments (0)


 

Air travel these days is already a marathon, but with Qantas' testing the limits of human endurance recently with a 19-hour trial flight, we wanted to provide some tips on surviving an ultra-long haul flight.

 
1. Stay hydrated
Obviously this involves drinking plenty of water, and even adding electrolytes to maximise your absorption if you want to, but avoiding dehydration requires more than just water intake. Avoiding dehydrating food and drink like caffeine, alcohol, salty foods, and heavy carbohydrates will make you feel much better. Go for leafy greens instead!
 
2. Set your watch to the local time
Travelling across time zones upsets our circadian rhythms, so set your watch to the local time and try to eat and sleep at the appropriate time for your destination.
 
3. Apply your SPF
You have much less protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays up in the air, where the ozone layer is thinnest. Make sure you apply and re-apply sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun.
 
4. Keep your body moving
You want to make sure that you keep your body mobile to avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis. No one’s body is meant to sit in a tiny chair for 19 hours, so doing some exercise on the flight will also make you a little less irritable! The video below suggests setting alarm for every three hours so that you’ll remember to get up, walk around, and do some stretches.
 
Check out this great video from the Wall Street Journal for more tips on surviving an ultra-long haul flight.

 

 

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Workload and Cabin Crew Fatigue

Oct 02, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

 

A new study published in the International Journal of Aerospace Psychology examined the correlation between fatigue and workload in cabin crews, and found perceived workload to be an independent predictor of fatigue.
 
Cabin crew face workload demands very different from that of pilots, their responsibilities include a lot more physical tasks as well as factors like turbulence, passenger demands, and medical incidents. The need for them to be awake during all meal services also means that they have less time available for significant blocks of rest.
 
The study evaluated Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS) tailored to the needs of cabin crews on ultra-long haul flights (longer than 16 hours). 55 airline cabin crew wore an actigraph and completed a sleep diary during an ultra-long trip. Before landing, the participants completed a psychomotor performance test and after landing they rated their workload for the flight. They found that on higher workload flight, members of the cabin crew felt more sleepy and fatigued, and were less successful at their psychomotor performance test.
 
Lead author Margo van den Berg, a PhD candidate at Massey University said, “It is important that the effects of workload in flight should not be viewed in isolation... Cabin crew often experience fatigue as a consequence of their irregular work schedules, which include early starts, late finishes, night work, frequent time zone changes, and long duty periods, causing sleep loss and circadian rhythm disruption. Considering that their most important role is to ensure cabin and passenger safety during flight, cabin crew fatigue and its associated risks needs to be managed carefully.”
 
As airline cabin crews are responsible for ensuring the safety and comfort of passengers aboard flights, it is important to manage and decrease fatigue-related operational risk.
 
You can view the study here.

 

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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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Back to work blues

Jan 09, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

For many of us, the end-of-year festive season is a busy time, catching up with friends and family, indulging in over-eating and attempting to get some much needed quality sleep! However, despite possibly sleeping more than usual, holidays can still leave you feeling tired. This is especially the case during the demanding festive season.

Aspects of the festive sleep that can affect your sleep include:

Research has shown that people often experience fatigue and stress during the holidays:


Additionally, with all the changes in sleep, alcohol and nutrition, the end of holidays marks the end of pleasant and enjoyable activities that would not usually be part of the average routine day. There could definitely be a link to how we spent our holidays, to how we cope with returning to work, and how quickly the benefits of holidays fade away.

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

 

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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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