Fatigue Management
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Fatigue Management

No matter where you go it seems that people are complaining that they are tired! Some think that this is because we live in a 24 hour world where there is no obvious beginning or ending to the day. We try to do more and more just because we think we can. Commerce offers us extended "open hours" stating that this is a convenience but the result is often the opposite - shift work and schedules that may not promote healthy personal or family lives.

Today I took a course on Fatigue Management and was quite surprised by the information presented. Research indicates that 38 percent of individuals have low energy, poor sleep and general feelings of fatigue. Those who work between 60 and 80 hours a week are at the highest risk for diseases and injury, a situation that translates into over $150 billion a year in costs.

Physical or mental tiredness reduces alertness and negatively impacts on performance in all areas of a person's life. It is rather scary to think, for example, that 20 percent of all drivers are affected by fatigue and, in fact, 51 to 60 percent self-report that they drive when feeling drowsy. This risk is higher than drunk driving!

People who suffer from severe insomnia have greater pain, more health issues and less vitality than those who have been diagnosed with depression. But it is not just those who have been diagnosed with sleep disorders (15 to 25 percent) that are suffering. People who are over-tired have poor hand-eye coordination, slower reaction time, attention and concentration problems, less ability to communicate clearly or accurately as well as reduced decision-making abilities. Fatigue leads to errors and errors result in incidents and accidents.

Those who are physically tired may experience "micro-sleeps" where they nod off without warning. Mental fatigue causes lapses in attention and emotional fatigue shows up in irritability and frustration.

Repetitive tasks, increased workloads, unplanned emergencies, noise, uncomfortable temperatures, lack of food or water, commuting times, stress and inappropriate use of substances can all cause fatigue. The research states that early morning and mid-afternoon are the most vulnerable times for fatigue problems. (It is therefore best not to plan complex tasks for those times of the day).

Most people need somewhere between 6 and 12 hours of consecutive sleep on a regular basis in order to do well. Take some time to do a serious assessment to determine exactly how many hours of sleep you need. Then make a commitment to yourself that you will honour your body and mind by getting that amount sleep on a regular basis - not just once in a while. Good sleeps will do wonders for your physical, mental and emotional health!

Unfortunately, you can't store sleep for the future or catch up when you haven't had enough. Your sleep needs to be long enough and often enough to recharge your batteries.

So, turn off the television, reduce the commitments on your calendar, make sure that your bedroom is comfortable and get to bed! You'll wake up in the morning with a smile on your face and a lilt in your step!



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