WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — Human fatigue results from sleep deprivation. Fatigue has become a growing concern in the Air Force as sustained and continuous operations, along with global deployments, are stretching the ability of our forces to meet growing mission demands.
Some Airmen may question whether fatigue is really a big enough hazard to worry about. Fatigue can decrease an Airman’s attention span and reaction times, and can impair his/her mental process, which can lead to increased probability of operational errors, mishaps and off-duty accidents. Ensuring that Airmen get the proper amount of sleep has become a serious challenge.
The Air Force defines fatigue as the state of tiredness associated with:
• Long hours of work
• Prolonged periods without sleep
• Physiologic stressors of the flight environment
• The requirement to work at times that are out of sync with the body’s biological — or circadian — rhythms
To raise awareness about fatigue and disseminate information to Airmen regarding strategies for its management, the Air Force Medical Operations Agency has developed and published the Air Force Fatigue Management Guide. Highlights of the guide include: understanding the nature of fatigue, fatigue countermeasures, good sleep habits and advice for handling unavoidable sleep loss.
One hard copy of the guide will be distributed to each current and incoming Airman during the next year. The point of contact for distribution of the guide is the installation’s Medical Group. An electronic guide is also available; instructions to download can be found at the AFMCwellness.com website or by contacting a Med Group point of contact.
Civilian Health Promotion Services will be offering classes on sleep health during the month of August. Civilian employees can obtain their “Guide to Healthy Sleep” booklet by contacting Hill AFB Civilian Health Promotion Services at 801-586-9586.