Sleep Optimization: The First-Line Fatigue Countermeasure
No matter what schedules are required and what conditions are present in the work environment, the most effective strategy for minimizing fatigue on the job is, of course, to ensure adequate sleep prior to the duty period. As noted earlier, insufficient sleep is an insidious threat to safety, performance, and personal well being, and a substantial amount of research has shown that sleep restriction degrades performance in a dose-related fashion. In other words, the greater the amount of sleep deprivation or restriction, the more the loss of performance, mental clarity, judgment, and mood will be. The impact of chronic sleep loss is most noticeable in sedentary situations such as while watching television, reading, riding in a car, attending meetings, driving, flying during the cruise portion, and while performing routine work, but even in more active circumstances, the insidious effects of sleep loss are working to undermine performance and safety.