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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

Sleeping habits around the world

Oct 23, 2019 ISS Comments (0)


While we live in an increasingly globalised world, people still tend to sleep very differently in different countries. The diversity of sleeping habits around the world can reflect attitudes towards health, work-life balance, relationship to the environment, and a myriad of other cultural values. Check out some of the unusual and interesting ways people sleep, it may even introduce you to a new habit to incorporate into your own bedtime routine.

 
Japan
In Japan, the habit of falling asleep in public, whether that is on the train or even in the middle of a meeting, is actually revered. Called inemuri, or ‘sleeping while present,’ it is a sign that people have worked themselves so hard that they have exhausted themselves. It may be praised as a sign of a person’s industriousness.
 
Botswana and Zaire
Members of the !Kung tribe and the Efe tribe, hunter-gatherers from Botswana and Zaire respectively, sleep when they feel tired. This could be at any time of day for any length of time, rather than in recurring blocks. While this system may not be fully compatible with current expectations in Western countries, the act of listening to your body to give it the sleep it needs is a sure-fire way to prevent fatigue.
 
Spain and Latin America
The popularity of the famous siesta has waned in recent years as Spain has become more urbanised. Nevertheless, an afternoon rest break, especially when kept short, can improve productivity. Interestingly, the afternoon power nap has sprung up in Silicon Valley, where employees are encouraged to use sleep pods to help them remain refreshed.
 
Australia
Some Aboriginal peoples practice co-sleeping, where they line up their mattresses or swags in a line called a ‘yunta.’ This practice can maximise the safety of the group, especially by protecting the most vulnerable members sleeping in the centre.

China

 In China, it’s a popular belief that a firm bed supports the alignment of the back, promoting better sleep, a belief shared by many around the world. Some Chinese factories have also been blurring the lines between workplace and bedroom, encouraging employees to utilise in-house sleeping and washing facilities to maximise productivity.

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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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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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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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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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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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