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Recovery in airplanes: sleep, and oxygen saturation

Elmenhorst, E.-M. and Rooney, D. and Pennig, S. and Wittkowski, M. and Vejvoda, M. and Wenzel, J. (2012) Recovery in airplanes: sleep, and oxygen saturation. Sleep Kongress, 09.-13.06.2012, Boston, USA.

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Abstract

Introduction: With increasing number and duration of long-haul flights the topic of crews’ on-board sleep and recovery gets progressively more important. At travelling altitude sleep takes place under hypobaric conditions corresponding to an altitude of 8000 ft. Methods: We investigated 24 healthy subjects (12 female, average age 27 years ± 4 SD) sleeping in a pressure chamber furnished as crew-rest-compartment. The flight simulation was realistic concerning the atmospheric conditions, the in-flight noise, and the 4h time in bed. Sleep-EEG, blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), and subjective sleep quality were recorded. Results were compared to a control group of 23 healthy subjects (9 female, average age 26 years ± 6 SD) that spent 4h time in bed in private rooms of the DLR-sleep laboratory under normobaric, silent conditions. Results: The recuperative value of sleep (to date subgroup of n=16) was reduced in hypobaric conditions since deep sleep (p<0.05) and REM sleep (p<0.01) were reduced whereas the light sleep phases (N1 p<0.05, N2 p<0.01) were increased. Sleep period time (SPT) and sleep efficiency did not differ between groups. The objective measures were emphasized by the subjective ratings (calmness of sleep: p<0.001; sleep depth: p<0.05). “In-flight”, subjects spent 83% (± 5%) of SPT in a state of hypobaric hypoxia (<90% SpO2), 4% of SPT even below 85% SpO2. The mean SpO2 level in-flight was 88% (± 1 SD) with a mean minimum of 81% (± 3 SD) while the control group had a mean SpO2 level of 96% (± 1 SD) (p<0.0001). Conclusion: Hypobaric hypoxia reduced the recuperative value of sleep. Young and healthy subjects were clearly affected. Older flight crews or diseased passengers might suffer from stronger effects while sleeping on board.

Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Title:Recovery in airplanes: sleep, and oxygen saturation
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Elmenhorst, E.-M.eva-maria.elmenhorst@dlr.de
Rooney, D.daniel.rooney@dlr.de
Pennig, S.sibylle.pennig@dlr.de
Wittkowski, M.martin.wittkowski@dlr.de
Vejvoda, M.martin.vejvoda@dlr.de
Wenzel, J.juergen.wenzel@dlr.de
Date:2012
Status:Published
Keywords:sleep, recovery, oxygen saturation, airplane
Event Title:Sleep Kongress
Event Location:Boston, USA
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:09.-13.06.2012
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: Alina Sender
Deposited On:09 Aug 2012 08:37
Last Modified:09 Aug 2012 08:37

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