Other Factors Associated with Sleep Difficulties
In the absence of an identifiable sleep disorder, there are other circumstances that can lead to problematic levels of aviator fatigue. Many of these, such as long work hours and non-standard work schedules, are often not within the control of the individual. Someone has to pull the nightshift in 24/7 commercial operations and pilots are often faced with travel across multiple time zones and other duty requirements that make it difficult to attain the amount of restful sleep necessary to be fully alert. However, there are some factors that often are, to some degree, within the individual’s control. These include some transient insomnias discussed in the previous chapter as well as the problem of intentional sleep restriction and the problem of poor sleep habits. These latter two causes of insufficient sleep are important because they can create a serious and chronic increase in fatigue levels on the job, and they can degrade general well being and quality of life. Fortunately, both can be completely corrected by the individual experiencing the problem without the aid of professional intervention and without the fear of an untoward impact on flight status.