Sleep restriction during simulated wildfire suppression: effect on physical task performance

Vincent, Grace and Ferguson, Sally A. and Tran, Jacqueline and Larsen, Brianna and Wolkow, Alexander and Aisbett, Brad (2015) Sleep restriction during simulated wildfire suppression: effect on physical task performance. PLoS One, 10 (1):e0115329. pp. 1-16.

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To examine the effects of sleep restriction on firefighters’ physical task performance during simulated wildfire suppression.

Thirty-five firefighters were matched and randomly allocated to either a control condition (8-hour sleep opportunity, n = 18) or a sleep restricted condition (4-hour sleep opportunity, n = 17). Performance on physical work tasks was evaluated across three days. In addition, heart rate, core temperature, and worker activity were measured continuously. Rate of perceived and exertion and effort sensation were evaluated during the physical work periods.

There were no differences between the sleep-restricted and control groups in firefighters’ task performance, heart rate, core temperature, or perceptual responses during self-paced simulated firefighting work tasks. However, the sleep-restricted group were less active during periods of non-physical work compared to the control group.

Under self-paced work conditions, 4 h of sleep restriction did not adversely affect firefighters’ performance on physical work tasks. However, the sleep-restricted group were less physically active throughout the simulation. This may indicate that sleep-restricted participants adapted their behaviour to conserve effort during rest periods, to subsequently ensure they were able to maintain performance during the firefighter work tasks. This work contributes new knowledge to inform fire agencies of firefighters’ operational capabilities when their sleep is restricted during multi-day wildfire events. The work also highlights the need for further research to explore how sleep restriction affects physical performance during tasks of varying duration, intensity, and complexity.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright: © 2015 Vincent et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2020 23:47
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2020 00:10
Uncontrolled Keywords: deprivation; work; models; temperature; fatigue; capacity; duration; validity
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110602 Exercise Physiology
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420702 Exercise physiology
35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3505 Human resources and industrial relations > 350505 Occupational and workplace health and safety
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920505 Occupational Health
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