Effects of Sleep Deprivation on U.S. Navy Surface Ship Watchstander Performance using Alternative Watch Schedules
Yokeley, Matthew T.
Shattuck, Nita Lewis
Fricker, Ronald D.
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The workload required of personnel onboard U.S. Navy warships continues to increase at a rapid pace. Personnel required to stand watches, in addition to normal work responsibilities, often times find themselves in a position that leads to a deprivation in their total daily sleep. Given the nature of responsibilities placed on U.S. Navy watchstanders, working under conditions of avoidable sleep deprivation is unacceptable. Using information gained from a predictive performance model instantiated in the Fatigue Avoidance Scheduling Tool (FAST), the optimal watch alternative plan to use is a 3/9-watch rotation, where personnel stand three hours of watch followed by nine hours off. This thesis attempted to quantify the effects of sleep deprivation on performance and to determine how that performance is changed through the use of the 3/9-watch rotation compared to a traditional four section 5/15-watch. Results comparing performance to sleep showed performance did increase with higher sleep levels and indicated better performance for personnel standing watch at certain times of the day. Overall, the 3/9- rotation was not only preferred by the crew, but was shown to have actual measurable benefit in performance.
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