chapter  6
12 Pages

Sleep Facts

By now it is obvious that the best anti-fatigue measure is to ensure sufficient quality sleep on a daily basis. This will take care of your homeostatic sleep drive, especially if you can supplement plenty of consolidated off-duty sleep with a nap. It will not directly affect your circadian drive, but it will reduce the impact of the circadian trough by attenuating the additive effects of the homeostatic drive. Besides sleep, nothing else can do more to enhance on-the-job alertness, ensure optimal judgment and concentration, and promote a healthy, positive outlook. Your objective should be to obtain the consistent average of 8 hours of sleep per day that experts recommend. Even if shift lag or jet lag impairs your ability to acquire 8 consolidated hours, you should supplement with naps in an effort to get 8 total hours. By the way, you might one day decide that you are one of those lucky people who can get by on less than this recommended amount of sleep, or you might decide you are unlucky enough to need more time in the sack every day. However, until you become absolutely certain that you can be your best on less than 8 hours a day, or until you become convinced that you really could use more than 8 hours, stick with the recommended amount. You will know that you are sleeping enough when you don’t answer ‘yes’ to most of the following questions:

• Do you fall asleep in under 5 minutes after going to bed? • Do you always feel like you could take a nap? • Do you become drowsy after eating a big meal? • Do you fall asleep when watching TV, sitting in meetings, or when

otherwise sitting still? • Do boring activities make you sleepy? • Do you sleep an hour or two longer than usual on days off? • Do you find that you can hardly make it through work without caffeine? • Do your eyelids feel ‘heavy’ or droopy while you’re at work? • Do you find that your head nods periodically while flying or performing

those boring administrative tasks?