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Fatigue on the flight deck: the consequences of sleep loss and the benefits of napping.
Accid Anal Prev. 2014 Jan; 62:309-18.AA

Abstract

The detrimental effects of fatigue in aviation are well established, as evidenced by both the number of fatigue-related mishaps and numerous studies which have found that most pilots experience a deterioration in cognitive performance as well as increased stress during the course of a flight. Further, due to the nature of the average pilot's work schedule, with frequent changes in duty schedule, early morning starts, and extended duty periods, fatigue may be impossible to avoid. Thus, it is critical that fatigue countermeasures be available which can help to combat the often overwhelming effects of sleep loss or sleep disruption. While stimulants such as caffeine are typically effective at maintaining alertness and performance, such countermeasures do nothing to address the actual source of fatigue - insufficient sleep. Consequently, strategic naps are considered an efficacious means of maintaining performance while also reducing the individual's sleep debt. These types of naps have been advocated for pilots in particular, as opportunities to sleep either in the designated rest facilities or on the flight deck may be beneficial in reducing both the performance and alertness impairments associated with fatigue, as well as the subjective feelings of sleepiness. Evidence suggests that strategic naps can reduce subjective feelings of fatigue and improve performance and alertness. Despite some contraindications to implementing strategic naps while on duty, such as sleep inertia experienced upon awakening, both researchers and pilots agree that the benefits associated with these naps far outweigh the potential risks. This article is a literature review detailing both the health and safety concerns of fatigue among commercial pilots as well as benefits and risks associated with strategic napping to alleviate this fatigue.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton, 2624 Q Street, Building 851, Area B, Wright Patterson AFB, OH 45433-7955, United States. Electronic address: Beth.Hartzler@us.af.mil.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Review

Language

eng

PubMed ID

24215936

Citation

Hartzler, Beth M.. "Fatigue On the Flight Deck: the Consequences of Sleep Loss and the Benefits of Napping." Accident; Analysis and Prevention, vol. 62, 2014, pp. 309-18.
Hartzler BM. Fatigue on the flight deck: the consequences of sleep loss and the benefits of napping. Accid Anal Prev. 2014;62:309-18.
Hartzler, B. M. (2014). Fatigue on the flight deck: the consequences of sleep loss and the benefits of napping. Accident; Analysis and Prevention, 62, 309-18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2013.10.010
Hartzler BM. Fatigue On the Flight Deck: the Consequences of Sleep Loss and the Benefits of Napping. Accid Anal Prev. 2014;62:309-18. PubMed PMID: 24215936.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Fatigue on the flight deck: the consequences of sleep loss and the benefits of napping. A1 - Hartzler,Beth M, Y1 - 2013/10/19/ PY - 2013/06/05/received PY - 2013/09/05/revised PY - 2013/10/10/accepted PY - 2013/11/13/entrez PY - 2013/11/13/pubmed PY - 2014/7/25/medline KW - Aviation KW - Fatigue KW - Pilots KW - Safety KW - Sleep KW - Strategic napping SP - 309 EP - 18 JF - Accident; analysis and prevention JO - Accid Anal Prev VL - 62 N2 - The detrimental effects of fatigue in aviation are well established, as evidenced by both the number of fatigue-related mishaps and numerous studies which have found that most pilots experience a deterioration in cognitive performance as well as increased stress during the course of a flight. Further, due to the nature of the average pilot's work schedule, with frequent changes in duty schedule, early morning starts, and extended duty periods, fatigue may be impossible to avoid. Thus, it is critical that fatigue countermeasures be available which can help to combat the often overwhelming effects of sleep loss or sleep disruption. While stimulants such as caffeine are typically effective at maintaining alertness and performance, such countermeasures do nothing to address the actual source of fatigue - insufficient sleep. Consequently, strategic naps are considered an efficacious means of maintaining performance while also reducing the individual's sleep debt. These types of naps have been advocated for pilots in particular, as opportunities to sleep either in the designated rest facilities or on the flight deck may be beneficial in reducing both the performance and alertness impairments associated with fatigue, as well as the subjective feelings of sleepiness. Evidence suggests that strategic naps can reduce subjective feelings of fatigue and improve performance and alertness. Despite some contraindications to implementing strategic naps while on duty, such as sleep inertia experienced upon awakening, both researchers and pilots agree that the benefits associated with these naps far outweigh the potential risks. This article is a literature review detailing both the health and safety concerns of fatigue among commercial pilots as well as benefits and risks associated with strategic napping to alleviate this fatigue. SN - 1879-2057 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/24215936/Fatigue_on_the_flight_deck:_the_consequences_of_sleep_loss_and_the_benefits_of_napping_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0001-4575(13)00407-7 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -