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Understanding Sleep Regulatory Processes to Improve Waking Performance

Aeschbach, D. (2011) Understanding Sleep Regulatory Processes to Improve Waking Performance. 1st :envihab Symposium, 23. Mai 2011, Köln.

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Abstract

Both sleepand waking performance are regulated by the interaction of two processes: the hoeostatic process that tracks the increase of sleep pressure during wakefulness and its discharge during sleep; the circadian process that generates cyclic changes in the drive for wakefulness. During normal entrainment to the light/dark cycle, the homeostatic and circadian process counteract each other, allowing humans to maintain adequate performance for ~ 16 h during daytime, and consolidate sleep for ~ 8 h at nighttime. In the modern 24-h society, however, many indiviuals are required to work and sleep under conditions in which the relatinship between homeastatic and circadian processes is substantially altered, generating a dangerous landscape for failures and errors in operational situations. Conversely, understanding the interaction of homeostatic and circadian processes can be used to develop countermeasures against poor sleep and impaired performance. In a simulated shift work protocol we tested whether a daly in the timing of the typical morning sleep episode into the afternoon - combined with a light-induced circadian phase advance - can reduce homeostatic sleep pressure during the subsequent night shift. We found that, indeed, on such a schedule individuals show fewer attentional errors during the night shift compared to a traditional sleep schedule experienced by many shift workers. Shift workers also have difficulties maintaining sleep during the daytime, because the decrease in their circadian wke drive by judiciously-timed melatonin administration. We showed that transdermal melatonin delivery con gradually increase plasma melatonin concentrations and thereby improve sleep efficiency in the latter part of an 8-h daytime sleep opportunity. These and other recent studies indicate that insight into the specific interaction of homeostatic and circadian processes can help researchers devise new strategies for counteracting impairments of sleep and performence in individuals in operational settings.

Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:Understanding Sleep Regulatory Processes to Improve Waking Performance
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Aeschbach, D.daniel.aeschbach@dlr.de
Date:2011
Status:Published
Keywords:Cognitive performance, sleep homeostatic, circadian misalignment, shiftwork, sleep loss, melatonin administration, countermeasures
Event Title:1st :envihab Symposium
Event Location:Köln
Event Type:Other
Event Dates:23. Mai 2011
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:ATM and Operation
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AO - Air Traffic Management and Operation
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Human Factors and Safety in Aeronautics
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Flight Physiology
Deposited By: Patrick Slupkowski
Deposited On:09 Dec 2011 11:03
Last Modified:09 Dec 2011 11:03

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