Operational assessment of the 5-h on/10-h off watchstanding schedule on a US Navy ship: sleep patterns, mood and psychomotor vigilance performance of crewmembers in the nuclear reactor department
Shattuck, Nita Lewis
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We assessed sleep patterns, psychomotor vigilance performance, work demands and mood of 77 crewmembers of USS NIMITZ (CVN-68) on the rotating 5-h on/10-h off (5/10) watchstanding schedule. Within the 3-day cycle of the 5/10, sleep occurred at distinctly different times each day. On two of these days, sailors typically received only brief, 4-h sleep episodes followed by periods of sustained wakefulness (approximately 22 and 20 h). Crewmembers received approximately seven hours of sleep daily, but reported excessive fatigue and dissatisfaction with their schedule. Crewmembers’ mood worsened significantly over the course of the underway phase. Psychomotor vigilance performance (reaction times, lapses) was significantly degraded compared to performance when working circadian-aligned schedules. Overall, standing watch on the 5/10 schedule, combined with other work duties, resulted in poor sleep hygiene. Crewmembers on the 5/10 experienced periodic bouts of sustained wakefulness and accrued a significant sleep debt due to extended workdays and circadian-misaligned sleep.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00140139.2015.1073794
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