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Effects of Sleep Deficiency on National Guard Personnel Responding to Disasters

Tri-Service Nursing Research Program

This study will examine the consequences of sleep deprivation and fatigue for National Guardsmen who are part of a HRF/CERF-P medical disaster response team. Our long-term goal is to help protect the health of our service members, civilian disaster response partners, and victims of disaster. The main objective of this study is to determine the prevalence and impact of sleep loss on National Guard medical personnel responding to a major disaster. To accomplish this objective we will measure the prevalence and impact of sleep loss on National Guard members during a high-intensity disaster training exercise. This type of disaster training is designed to bring on extreme fatigue. The conditions trainees are subjected to (lack of sleep, intense heat, fast paced tasks etc.) all accurately simulate real operations. Our central hypothesis is twofold: 1) sleep deprivation, fragmentation, and restriction occurs during National Guard disaster training; and 2) sleep deprivation, fragmentation, and restriction impacts National Guard members’ performance on simulated tasks during disaster training. The rationale underlying this proposed research is that there is ample data from multiple sources to support the need to improve sleep and increase sleep opportunity during extended operations. This research will provide military and high-risk occupational jobs evidence on the prevalence and impact of sleep deprivation on critical job task performance. This knowledge will enhance healthcare providers’ assessment and intervention and could potentially save lives. As a society, our population continues to use a variety of products, drugs, supplements and poor habits that are potentially harmful to their health. National Guard Service Members are often unaware of the impact of their reduced sleep that could put them at risk and impair their operational efficiency. Aims: 1. Estimate the extent of sleep restriction, deprivation, and fragmentation on National Guard members participating in disaster training; 2. Assess the impact of sleep restriction, deprivation and fragmentation on operational performance during disaster training.

Abstract

It is critically important to understand the issues surrounding sleep and apply them to military activities, so that specific interventions can be planned to protect servicemen, and improve their ability to protect civilians. This understanding is not just important for individual service members, but for the cohesive functioning of a military unit. Excessive work schedules can also have extreme negative consequences. In the health care field, sleep deprivation and fatigue are consistently linked to long shifts and over work
This study will examine the consequences of sleep deprivation and fatigue for National Guardsmen who are part of a HRF/CERF-P medical disaster response team. Our long-term goal is to help protect the health of our service members, civilian disaster response partners, and victims of disaster. The main objective of this study is to determine the prevalence and impact of sleep loss on National Guard medical personnel responding to a major disaster. To accomplish this objective we will measure the prevalence and impact of sleep loss on National Guard members during a high-intensity disaster training exercises during 2 points in time at two Air Force military bases. This type of disaster training is designed to bring on extreme fatigue. The conditions trainees are subjected to (lack of sleep, intense heat, fast paced tasks etc.) all accurately simulate real operations.

Our central hypothesis is twofold: 1) sleep deprivation, fragmentation, and restriction occurs during National Guard disaster training; and 2) sleep deprivation, fragmentation, and restriction impacts National Guard members’ performance on simulated tasks during disaster training. The rationale underlying this proposed research is that there is ample data from multiple sources to support the need to improve sleep and increase sleep opportunity during extended operations.
Aims: 1. Estimate the extent of sleep restriction, deprivation, and fragmentation on National Guard members participating in disaster training; 2. Assess the impact of sleep restriction, deprivation and fragmentation on operational performance during disaster training.
Methods: This is a longitudinal, quantitative, repeated measures study design.
Sample Size: N=60

This research will provide military and high-risk occupational jobs evidence on the prevalence and impact of sleep deprivation on critical job task performance. This knowledge will enhance healthcare providers’ assessment and intervention and could potentially save lives. As a society, our population continues to use a variety of products, drugs, supplements and poor habits that are potentially harmful to their health. National Guard Service Members are often unaware of the impact of their reduced sleep that could put them at risk and impair their operational efficiency.

Team