Fatigue in Aviation Sustained Operations, the Utility of Napping, and the Problem of Sleep Inertia
ARMY AEROMEDICAL RESEARCH LAB FORT RUCKER AL
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Improperly managed aircrew fatigue can seriously degrade the performance alertness and safety of personnel in the operational environment. Fortunately this danger can be minimized by the use of carefully planned napping strategies. Naps are effective because they are known to reduce the homeostatic drive for sleep. In a variety of settings napping has been shown to produce several relatively long-lasting benefits. Unfortunately there is a down side to the countermeasure in that personnel can suffer from several minutes of grogginess immediately after a nap has ended. This phenomenon is called sleep inertia. In operational contexts the negative impact of sleep inertia must be weighed against the longer-lasting benefits of any napping strategy. If napping is to be implemented, specific steps can be taken to reduce the probability that sleep inertia will be severe andor persistent.
- Stress Physiology