Weapons and tactics instructor course 2-16 sleep and performance study
Gonzales, Rachel A.
Shattuck, Nita Lewis
Buttrey, Samuel E.
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The Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) command requested a sleep and performance study of the instructors and students of Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 2- 16. Specifically, MAWTS-1 leadership wanted to know whether crew rest periods were being used for sleep and whether fatigue posed a risk to personnel during the course. This thesis expanded upon prior studies in military educational environments. The WTI 2-16 study collected sleep and performance data via wrist-worn actigraphy and psychomotor vigilance tests (PVT). Sleep duration and efficiency remained high throughout the course, but participation waned before the study ended. Both instructors and students appeared to receive adequate sleep of good quality (overall mean 7.4 hrs/night). There was little variability in the sleep patterns (i.e., WTI participants were abiding by the crew rest regulations). Compliance posed a significant challenge and limited the ability to correlate sleep to performance. We also measured self-reported fatigue and mood using standardized questionnaires. Results from subjective assessments showed a significant increase in self-reported fatigue as the course progressed. This thesis outlines a detailed methodology and lessons learned for follow-on studies of this type and recommends improvements to future studies.
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