It's hard to get a decent amount of sleep when your line of work requires so many sleepless nights. Emergency responders like EMTs, Police Officers, and Firefighters could be on the clock when most people are in bed. In fact, they could be working 16 to 24-hour shifts.
In March 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration referenced a study in which 50% of EMS workers surveyed suffered from fatigue, and consequently were more likely to be injured on the job, commit medical errors, or perform a safety-compromising behavior.
Sleep deprivation impairs judgement, decreases reaction speed, and reduces memory retention. Additionally, prolonged periods of sleep deprivation magnify these effects and produce cognitive impairment similar to a blood alcohol level of 0.1%, well over the legal limit. Skills that are essential to emergency responders like critical thinking, rapid response, fine motor function, and multi-tasking are all affected by fatigue.
Every year, the amount of emergency calls are increasing, with the projection for 2020 being 36 million calls nationwide. There's a high demand for emergency responders, and not enough time for sleep.
One of the most effective ways to refresh a fatigued worker is to permit (and prioritize) short power naps at work. A nap of just 20-45 minutes is enough to improve alertness and reduce potential errors. EMS workers should be treated just like pilots. NASA's Fatigue Countermeasures Program listed the importance of naps in improving mental alertness. Pilots who were allowed to take a short nap improved their performance by 34% and their alertness by 54%.
Another way to decrease sleep deprivation amongst emergency workers is to limit the number of consecutive shifts an employee can work. Everyone needs to rest, including people who work in a crisis. At Eight, we have designed the very best products for sleep. As a thank you to the people who risks their lives for us everyday, we are giving a special discount to emergency first responders.
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