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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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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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Are sleeping pills a good option?

Oct 10, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

Have you ever been prescribed sleeping pills? Prescription medication to aid sleep during times of transient sleep loss can provide much-needed relief. They can be quite effective at helping you fall asleep, however, if misused it is very easy to become dependent on the use of the medication, either physically or emotionally.

 

In a 2012 study, researchers compared over 10,000 people who took sleeping pills with nearly twice as many people with similar health histories who did not take sleeping pills. It was found that those who took sleeping pills were more than four times as likely to have died during the study’s 2.5-year follow-up as those who didn’t take them. While the study shows an association between sleeping pills and death, it does not prove them as the cause. The problem may lie in overuse or activities that are undertaken while experiencing the drowsy side-effects of sleeping pills, such as driving or operating heavy machinery. 

 

Sleeping pills are not the long-term answer to sleep problems and should only be used for short periods of time because of tolerance to the drug and the risk of dependency. It is important to follow the advice given to you by your doctor. Also, never take sleeping pills when travelling on aircraft. As tempting as it can be to take them to help you sleep on the plane, they effectively immobilise you, increasing the risk of DVT dramatically due to blood pooling, usually in the lower part of the body. Click on some of our older blog posts below the best tips to battle jet lag without sleeping pills:

 

High & Dry: Keeping hydrated while flying

Beware of the Dark Side: Using light to reduce jet lag

Melatonin - should you use it?

Around the world in... 52 hours?

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

 

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Is napping at work the new norm?

Sep 26, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

Tired or fatigued employees can have a significant effect in the workplace, reducing productivity through personal days, reduced hours and a general decline in efficiency while working. The solution is simple, and no, it does not involve drinking copious amounts of coffee. Studies have shown napping to be quite beneficial, improving alertness and performance.

 

Workplaces around the world, such as some air traffic control organisations, have formalised a controlled napping procedure, where naps are built into a controller's daily schedule. The most beneficial nap we would recommend is one of 20-25 minutes in length, however, even a 10-minute power nap is enough to improve one's cognitive function and reaction time. 

 

It is advisable to limit your naps to less than 30 minutes, in order to minimise sleep inertia -  the period of impaired performance and grogginess experienced after waking - and allow yourself to wake up.

 

Join us in Singapore for our Fatigue Management & Human Factors in our 24-hour Society event in March 2019 to find out more about what the current research tells us about naps. For more information on napping, contact us via Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter or comment below.

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