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Voluntary Self-Control of Sleep to Facilitate Quasi-Continuous Performance

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Sumary rept. no. 80 (Final) 1 Jul 1971-31 Mar 1980

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Quasi-continuous work schedules require individuals to function for prolonged periods with few extensive sleep opportunities. Consequently, sleep loss may jeopardize effective functioning. This research has evaluated the potential of napping to facilitate functioning in such situations. These studies focused on identifying basic individual differences in napping behavior, and determining the implications of these differences for the ability to nap, the nature of naps, the purpose served by naps, and the consequences of napping in both sleep-conducive and non-conducive alerting environments. These issues are relevant to implementing prophylactic napping during sustained operations. This study involves both laboratory and field data on the sleepwakefulness patterns, napping behavior, psychophysiology, performance, subjective activation, and circadian variation in two types of habitual nappers and a group of habitual non-nappers. Replacement nappers nap to compensate for shortened nocturnal sleep the night before, and are the most common type of nappers appetitive nappers naps are not tied to reduced nocturnal sleep, but rather may be part of a natural biphasic sleep cycle. Appetitive nappers exhibit a greater control over napping than replacement nappers. Confirmed non-nappers avoid napping because it produces unpleasant consequences for them, the basis of which might be the intrusion of a consolidated nocturnal sleep pattern into their nap. Naps profoundly improve positive mood states in nappers, but they also yield immediate post-nap performance decrements -- related to aspects of sleep infrastructure -- that are relatively quickly dissipated.

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  • Psychology
  • Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems

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