Extending Human Effectiveness during Sustained Operations through Sleep Management
NAVAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER SAN DIEGO CA
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Sustained Operations SUSOPs represent a prolonged period of continuous work CW in the performance of essential services. In many military operations, demands for CW cannot be easily met by orderly sharing of work through arranging soldiers on shift or night work schedules. Especially during times of emergency, military personnel must often work continuously without sleep for long hours at physically demanding tasks while remaining mentally alert. This technical paper summarizes four SUSOP studies, I through IV, to describe cognitive performance decrements due to continuously working for two episodes of 20 hours each, with a short sleep period of 3 or 4 hours permitted between these two CWs. This paper also reports on an application of sleep logistics in evaluation of effectiveness of napping in the early morning period so as to counteract performance decrement due to a CW. Short napping of 3 or 4 hours in the early morning was found not to be completely effective in restoring Marine Corps volunteers from fatigue and sleepiness of 20 hours CW, thus making them ready to resume the second 2-hour CW with high quality performance. However, some task performances were found to be improved by napping. These findings suggest that napping can be used as an effective intervention technique for maintaining and even enhancing the cognitive performance during CW.