Enhancement of Performance: Operational Considerations,
ROYAL AIR FORCE FARNBOROUGH (ENGLAND) INST OF AVIATION MEDICINE
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The enhancement of performance by the use of drugs is unlikely to be the sole solution to the problems of sustained air operations. Drugs are means by which alertness can be maintained either by preserving sleep or by increasing alertness, and they can only be used effectively when attention has first been directed to optimising the work and rest pattern of the schedule, or if this is not possible, by anticipating the difficulties which are likely to arise. The question of the potential role of pharmacological agents in air operations is in three stages. The characteristics of duty periods which influence performance must be understood first of all, and with this information it may be possible to avoid patterns of work which inevitably lead to difficulties, or include features in the schedule which may alleviate the situation. However, in the operational situation we are likely to have to deal with a work and rest schedule that cannot be modified, and under these circumstances it is important to identify the periods of duty which are likely to cause difficulty. Against this background we are able to look at the use of hypnotics to preserve sleep and of stimulants to enhance alertness.