Leadership

SLEEP TO SURVIVE: HOW TO MANAGE SLEEP DEPRIVATION

Issue 6 and Volume 156.

BY ROBIN WIDMAR Did you sleep well last night? If not, you may be at risk for more than just a bad mood. Like good nutrition and exercise, sleep is essential to mental and physical well-being. Chronic lack of sleep impairs performance, contributes to serious health problems, and may even shorten life- span. In an age of increased emphasis on firefighter health and safety, the importance of sleep should not be minimized. Respondents to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2002 Sleep in America poll expressed concerns about work schedules for people entrusted with public health and safety. Eighty-two percent agreed that employees should not be required to work beyond a regular shift if they are too tired or sleepy. Although the survey specifically addressed physicians, nurses, and police officers, it is easy to see how this would apply to firefighters as well. Firefighters respond to emergencies 24 hours a day and…

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