Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Air Force studies fatigue, sleep to enhance readiness

An Air Force Airman sleeps inside a C-17 Globemaster III during a flight over an undisclosed location in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration) An Air Force Airman sleeps inside a C-17 Globemaster III during a flight over an undisclosed location in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Sleep

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — The Air Force is studying sleep habits among Airmen to find ways to improve performance and ensure their readiness to support the mission.

Researchers with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, are looking for ways to better equip Airmen and their leadership with crucial data to ensure that Airmen are getting the necessary rest and to maximize mission execution.

A team of human performance experts is looking at sleep and fatigue from several perspectives. They are tracking sleep habits in pilots and other operators, while also evaluating sleep-monitoring technology to ensure its accuracy and ability to work in an operational setting.

“It’s a multi-pronged approach to studying sleep and fatigue,” said Dr. Glenn Gunzelmann, training core technical competency lead for the Airman Systems Directorate in the 711th HPW. “Providing Airmen with information on their sleep patterns and history helps Airmen understand how sleep effects their operational effectiveness. Giving leadership this data also helps inform policy and how to account for sleep needs in their planning.”’

Gunzelmann, along with Air Force Lt. Col. Dara Regn, Internal Medicine Branch chief for the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine in the 711th HPW, participate in a NATO aircrew fatigue management working group. Regn leads the working group, which also includes Army and Navy researchers. The goal is to pool their expertise and research to address common issues and challenges.

“Our current operations cross over multiple time zones, resulting in circadian rhythm issues, sleep deprivation or insufficient sleep,” said Regn. “As partner nations we all deal with similar challenges like increased mission tempo, long-range missions and pilot shortages. We are working together to optimize our pilots and bring back the importance of sleep.”

This NATO working group is currently building a “sleep toolbox” for aviators and those who take care of them. The toolbox helps them identify and mitigate sub-optimal sleep habits.

According to Regn, the sleep toolbox will have educational resources on fatigue risk assessment with ways to mitigate this. It will also have information on insomnia, including cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia and other sleep disorders.

“These resources will be made available through an open source NATO website and secure offline application,” said Regn. “The application allows users to optimize their sleep and is a resource for reliable advice on improving sleep quality in operational settings.”

Similarly, the 711th HPW is also developing an application that can track current and future levels of effectiveness base on an individual’s sleep and wakefulness data.

Good sleep habits are closely related to overall health and performance.

“Sleep is an essential life function that many overlook,” said Regn. “Compromised sleep has significant consequences. About 80 perecent of aviation accidents are due to human error, and pilot fatigue accounts for about 15 to 20 percent of that.”

According to Regn, many Airmen do not get enough sleep often due to behavioral factors. The demands of work, family and other responsibilities make getting a good night’s sleep a lower priority. Deployment can also add to sleep challenges.

“Poor sleep quality can be exacerbated by our mission tempo and demands,” said Regn. “In an operational setting, it can be hard to adapt, making it more challenging to complete long-range missions.”

The 711th's sleep and fatigue research is aimed at equipping the Air Force with the information needed to assess effectiveness, identify risks that may impact the mission, and prevent aviation errors while improving the health and safety of all Airmen.

“Our research, policies and mitigation strategies take into account that these Airmen have lives outside of their operational responsibilities that impact their sleep patterns and can cause fatigue,” said Gunzelmann. “We can equip Airmen with the right information to optimize their sleep habits to enhance health and mission performance.”

Disclaimer: Re-published content may be edited for length and clarity. Read original post.

You also may be interested in...

MSMR Vol. 28 No. 03 - March 2021

Report
3/1/2021

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Influenza surveillance trends and influenza vaccine effectiveness among Department of Defense beneficiaries during the 2019–2020 influenza season; Influenza outbreak during Exercise Talisman Sabre, Queensland, Australia, July 2019; Update: Sexually transmitted infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012–2020; A retrospective cohort study of blood lead levels among special operations forces soldiers exposed to lead at a firing range in Germany.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

Army hospital powers through record-breaking winter storms

Article
2/22/2021
A military medical center covered in snow

BAMC comes away from major winter storm unscathed.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Readiness Capabilities

Training for a healthy heart can improve overall health

Article
2/22/2021
Military personnel wearing a mask exercising in the gym

Service members must be heart healthy to perform optimally throughout their military careers.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Physical Fitness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Heart Health

Order of Military Medical Merit presented to USU medical student

Article
2/19/2021
Military personnel receiving the Order of Military Merit

Army 2nd becomes the first USU medical student to receive the Order of the Military Medical Merit.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness | Global Health Engagement

Improving health outcomes, readiness is aim of new grant funding

Article
2/18/2021
Military health personnel wearing a mask giving a shot to a patient

DHA offers funding grants for high-value research that supports better care, better health, and increased readiness, with lower costs.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

VCE examines low vision with detection and care

Article
2/18/2021
military health personnel wearing a mask and performing an eye exam

Dr. David Eliason, of the Vision Center of Excellence, says low vision awareness is about prevention, detection, and continuing treatment.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Health Tools | Medical Research and Development | Vision Loss | Centers of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

Sleep After Concussion

Infographic
2/18/2021
Sleep After Concussion. Service members with TBI report 3 times more sleep problems. TBIs can happen anywhere, only 16.9 percent of TBIs happen while deployed. Visit health.mil/TBIFactSheets to learn more about sleep problems and how to improve them

"Sleep After Concussion" is intended for patients and caregivers of those who have sustained a TBI. The infographic reviews general information of sleep-related concerns and points towards additional educational resources.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Patient and Family Resources | TBI Educators | Traumatic Brain Injury | Sleep | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit

DOD initiatives address the sexual health of our military

Article
2/17/2021
Image of a bacterium

STIs are important to identify and treat because they can impact service members’ health and readiness, as well as their ability to perform their duties.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Health Readiness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Men's Health | Women's Health

WRNMMC’s participation in APOLLO program furthers cancer research

Article
2/4/2021
Two groups of vials on a table

The MCC serves as the preeminent cancer research and treatment facility within the Department of Defense.

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Health Readiness

MSMR Vol. 28 No. 02 - February 2021

Report
2/1/2021

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Malaria, U.S. Armed Forces, 2020; Historical perspective: The evolution of post-exposure prophylaxis for vivax malaria since the Korean War; Surveillance for vector-borne diseases among active and reserve component service members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016–2020.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

Weed Army Community Hospital staffers show off their skills

Article
1/29/2021
Medical personnel, wearing a mask, practicing skills on a dummy

Hospital staff continued to take COVID-19 precautions during the event to ensure a safe learning environment.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Readiness Capabilities

RHC-Europe Soldiers compete for Army Best Medic title

Article
1/21/2021
Soldiers in the snow, pulling a sled of materials

Army Sgt. Metcalf and Spc. Galdamez prepare to compete in the 2021 Command Sgt. Maj. Jack L. Clark Jr. U.S. Army Best Medic Competition later in the month at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Readiness Capabilities

NH Guantanamo Bay Lt. named as Subspecialty Officer of the Year

Article
1/14/2021
Navy Lt. Ara Gutierrez, Naval Readiness and Training Command Guantanamo Bay, was selected Navy Medicine’s Medical Technology Subspecialty Junior Officer of the Year for 2020.

Gutierrez said she was genuinely surprised and honored to represent medicine’s "hidden profession.”

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

MHS refractive surgery experts discuss warfighter readiness

Article
1/13/2021
Image of Mr. McCaffery looking at a monitor with an eye on it

Refractive surgery is any surgery that eliminates the need for glasses or contact lenses.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Vision Loss | Readiness Capabilities

DOD Launches “My MilLife Guide” Text Message Program to Boost Wellness

Article
1/11/2021
The new My MilLife Guide program supports the wellness of the military community.

DoD has launched My MilLife Guide, a new program that sends text messages designed to help the military community boost overall wellness while navigating stresses related to COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | Total Force Fitness | Health Readiness
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 16 - 30 Page 2 of 38

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.