Understanding Fatigue: Why time awake needs control

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Understanding Fatigue: Why time awake needs control

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Understanding Fatigue: Why time awake needs control

Missing a night of sleep isn’t uncommon but does affect you. How long an individual is awake affects sleepiness and consequently fatigue levels. The longer an individual has been awake, the poorer his/her performance.

MARITIME HEALTH | 29/10/19 Read in this series

Sleep is regulated by two body systems: sleep/wake homeostasis and the circadian biological clock. After a number of hours awake, alertness and performance levels begin to decrease, with long duty periods associated with higher levels of fatigue than shorter duty periods due to extended wakefulness and demands on attention.

When we have been awake for a long period of time, sleep/wake homeostasis tells us that a need for sleep is accumulating and that it is time to sleep. It also helps us maintain enough sleep throughout the night to make up for the hours of being awake. In essence, sleep/wake homeostasis creates a drive that balances sleep and wakefulness.

Human sleep patterns follow natural circadian rhythms. Staying up all night means fighting this natural process, which is not only difficult, but also unhealthy. In this context, we refer briefly the key benefits of a good sleep and provide simple tips to control the time being awake and fall to sleep quickly.

Did you know?

  • The longest recorded time without sleep is approx. 264 hours (over 11 consecutive days).
  • After three or four nights without sleep, you may start to hallucinate.
  • Prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to cognitive impairments, irritability, delusions, paranoia, psychosis.
  • Dying from sleep deprivation is extremely rare but it can happen.

Benefits – A good sleep improves..

  • mental health
  • immune function
  • concertation and productivity
  • ability to interact socially
  • athletic performance

10 Tips to help you fall asleep quickly

#1 Lower your body temperature

Taking a warm bath or shower help; as your body cools down afterwards, it sends signal to your brain to go to sleep.

#2 Follow a sleep schedule

Wake up and go to bed at the same time each day and get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

#3 Practice Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness

These techniques can help you get a good night’s rest and wake up feeling fresh and full of energy.

#4 Watch what you eat before

A high-carb diet can get you to fall asleep faster but it will not be restful sleep. Instead, high-fat meals could promote a deeper sleep.

#5 Listen to relaxing music

If relaxing music is not available, blocking all noise could also help you fall asleep faster.

#6 Exercise during the day

Exercise boosts the production of serotonin in the brain and decreases levels of cortisol which is the stress hormone.

#7 Turn off all electronics

Put away computers and mobile phones to ensure a quiet place, free of distractions.

#8 Limit caffeine

A soothing tea like chamomile tea has been shown to promote sleep and relaxation.

#9 Read a book

Bedtime reading may promote longer sleep; however, do not prefer to read from an electronic book or tablet/ phone.

#10 Visualize things that make you happy

Instead of lying in bed worrying and thinking about stressful things, visualize a place that makes you feel calm.

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