In this guest post, Paul Marlow, a leading advocate in mental health, shares the importance of acknowledging World Mental Health Day 2020, on Saturday, October 10th, sleep health, and immunity in the time of COVID-19.
Fatigue Science is proud to announce that our UK clients, Morgan Sindall, have received an award of High Commendation from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) for their use of our Readiband Solution.
The award was presented at IOSH’s annual Rail Industry Conference 2017 in Nottingham, UK on November 9th. This award represents both the occupational health and safety field’s growing awareness of fatigue’s effect on worker safety and productivity and their increasing recognition of organizations working to address it through innovative means.
Andrew Jellis, Managing Director Rail, Morgan Sindall said, “We’ve always known that in our dynamic, 24/7 operating environment, fatigue is present, but largely invisible. Now, [with Readiband] we have a tool that not only measures the risks, but also empowers our workers to reduce them.”
The Readiband Solution, a recent addition to the Fatigue Science suite of offerings, enables workers to set, track, and achieve personalized goals for reducing their own fatigue. To do this, the solution combines high-resolution sleep data from the wrist-worn Readiband 5 with a mobile app that provides instant fatigue analysis. The analysis, powered by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research at the U.S. Army Medical Research Development Command-developed SAFTE Model, shows workers the cumulative impact of their sleep via an “Alertness Score” that quantifies their fatigue levels at any given moment. Workers can then use this information to set realistic Alertness Goals based on sustained changes to their sleep habits. They can then track their progress towards their goals on a daily basis.
When sustained, a worker’s sleep habit improvements can then be translated for employers into quantifiable reductions in on-duty fatigue, increased productivity, and lower risk on duty.
Thus far, Morgan Sindall’s Rail Division has helped over 100 employees measure, manage, and reduce their fatigue. An early adopter of Fatigue Science technology since 2016, Morgan Sindall has found similar success in reducing fatigue on other large-scale rail projects. We continue to enjoy working closely with them as they make further advancements to improve employee well-being, mental health, and safety.
Read Morgan Sindall’s full press release here.
About Morgan Sindall
Morgan Sindall is part of Morgan Sindall Group plc, a leading construction and regeneration group with a turnover of over £2.6 billion, operating through six divisions of construction and infrastructure, fit out, property services, partnership housing, urban regeneration and investments. The Group works on everything from small scale fit outs and utilities projects to major urban regeneration schemes.
When we talk about our technology, you’ll hear us say that Readiband can measure both sleep and fatigue.
The sleep analysis is usually easier to understand – Quite simply, Readiband provides really accurate insight into how your team sleeps. Things like how well they sleep after games, how long they sleep on average, and what time they fall asleep when traveling to a different time zone.
The fatigue analysis is where Fatigue Science really makes its name. Measuring fatigue is not as simple as asking someone how tired they feel today, and predicting fatigue is not as simple as asking someone how tired they’ll be two weeks from now. Scientists identify fatigue by measuring an individual’s sustained attention and reaction time. To do this, they use a psychomotor vigilance task (or PVT) test. A PVT is a small electronic box with buttons and lights – When a light flashes, the individual must push a button, the faster they push the button, the faster their reaction time measurement and the higher the PVT score. Sounds simple enough, but PVT tests are impractical to use in the real world, and can only provide a fatigue measurement for the exact moment in time that the test is taken. The Readiband, however, provides a continuous measurement of fatigue based on the sleep data it collects and something called the SAFTE (Sleep, Activity, Fatigue, Task and Effectiveness) model, which predicts the wearer’s PVT score.
What is SAFTE?
The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research at the U.S. Army Medical Research Development Command started to invest in research to understand how long periods of wakefulness during critical operations were affecting their soldiers ability to react quickly and make effective, split-second decisions. From this research, a biomathematical model called SAFTE was developed. The SAFTE model is an algorithm, which processes information about sleep history and time of day, to predict PVT test scores. The model was built into a software used in schedule planning, to both understand and limit the dangerous effects of fatigue in military operations.
The ability of the SAFTE model to accurately predict PVT scores and therefore, predict performance and fatigue, was proven through a number of studies including those conducted by the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration. This means the SAFTE model is scientifically proven to provide accurate measurements and predictions of reaction time for your athletes without the need to coordinate PVT or other timed tests.
The SAFTE model is licensed exclusively by Fatigue Science for use in the Readiband. By using Readiband to monitor your athletes’ sleep quality, you can harness the power of military fatigue research and development to understand how that sleep affects their athletic performance and reaction time.
For deeper reading, please refer to the following papers:
Comparison of Mathematical Model Predictions to Experimental Data of Fatigue and Performance
Journal of Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine (2004)
Fatigue Models for Applied Research in Warfighting
Journal of Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine (2004)
go! Vancouver‘s Johanna Ward met Fatigue Science CEO, Sean Kerklaan, last fall at the BCTIA’s ConnectFX here in Vancouver. She was so intrigued by how our technology could help both athletes optimize their game-time performance and workers operate more safely on the job, that we invited her back to Fatigue Science headquarters to learn more.
In the segment, Sean shows Johanna how Readiband technology works, how managing sleep can improve performance in the workplace, and shares a few tips for a good night’s sleep. Have a watch:
Are there any scientifically valid and reliable sleep apps? Prior to the new year, we referenced a study conducted out of Oxford University which concluded that mobile sleep tracking apps did not provide consistent or validated results. The Huffington Post also recently looked at some of the more popular consumer wearable gadgets that claim to monitor sleep and provided a similar conclusion.
Fatigue Science Founder, Pat Byrne, advises that people should ‘ask hard questions about the validity of all products we use’ and but even more importantly, challenges people to ask themselves exactly what they are trying to measure when looking to track and monitor sleep. He writes:
First, sleep is a complex process – When we sleep, how long we sleep, and how well we sleep directly affects our reaction time and ability to concentrate when we are awake. When you set out to measure sleep you have to ask yourself, What exactly am I trying to measure and how am I going to use this data? What am I trying to accomplish with the data?
As the Huffington Post points out the “gold standard” for measuring sleep is polysomnography (PSG). This is how sleep is defined and it is used to clinically diagnose sleep disorders. However, PSG is largely restricted to in-bed sleep clinics – meaning, to take advantage of this level of sleep measurement, a person must be referred and subjected to an overnight sleep study in a clinical, supervised, environment.
Actigraphy, on the other hand, can be used to measure individual sleep in any environment. The technology has been around for over 30 years, and is widely considered to be an acceptable alternate for sleep measurement. Actigraphy uses accelerometers (sensors that recognize motion) which can use wrist motion measurements to classify sleep and wakefulness. The technology is explained quite well by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
The key to obtaining reasonably accurate sleep results with actigraphy are the algorithms – built into the actigraph – which turn the wrist motion data into sleep data. The algorithm we use here at Fatigue Science with our Readiband is 93% accurate when compared to PSG in independent testing. Other actigraphy-based products use algorithms that have varying degrees of accuracy when compared to PSG.
If you are contemplating using actigraphy in any form, it is always helpful to ask the manufacturer for their PSG comparative studies – independent studies are even better. The Huffington Post article seems to indicate that the consumer fitness trackers are not very accurate. I have not read the research they are referring to, but if you are considering using a consumer device for sleep monitoring, I would recommend that you study the research.
Our business is helping organizations improve their worker safety and sports teams manage their athlete fatigue to improve overall performance in both the workplace and the stadium – having a highly accurate algorithm for our Readiband was central to being able to deliver our clients very objective and meaningful sleep data.
As the second part of a Fatigue Science analysis involves turning sleep data into a performance measurement (modelling reaction time and ability to concentrate) we need to ensure we are starting with highly accurate sleep data. Teams, players, and organizations value the information and insight they get by measuring performance in addition to sleep. Measuring performance takes into account the impact of circadian rhythms, jet lag, sleep duration, sleep timing, and sleep fragmentation to produce much more useful metrics. This performance measurement is something that none of the consumer fitness trackers or apps can provide.
Questioning the validity of any tool is good practice and your choice of actigraph should depend on what you are trying to achieve with the data, and how accurate you need the results to be.
Guest post: Dr. Jonathan Bloomfield, Sleep & Performance Consultant
Sleep has a very measurable impact on physical and cognitive performance – both of which need to be consistently in top form to sustain competitiveness at an elite athletic level. Studies show that an optimally rested athlete can run faster and make smarter split second decisions.
Understanding sleep to improve athletic performance is not as simple as just telling players to sleep 8 hours a night. Fatigue Science Performance Consultant, Dr. Jonathan Bloomfield, lists 10 reasons why sleep is important for athletes and why he has been using Fatigue Science technology for over four years with English Premier League and International Rugby teams to help optimize player performance:
- Athlete’s essentials: All players need to train, fuel, and recover – the three essential pillars of performance. Most clubs know how to address measurements and best practices around training and nutrition, Fatigue Science can help manage the third aspect.
- Get a bigger picture: Being a professional athlete is a 24/7 job. Coaches and backroom staff are in contact with players for usually 10-15 hours per week. If you can understand how the team is sleeping, you start to get a bigger picture of how this aspect of training might affect their on-the-field performance.
- Sleep = Recovery: Sleep is crucial to athletic recovery – including physiological, biochemical, and cognitive restoration. If not properly managed, player mood, effort, and technical performance will all suffer and they will be more susceptible to injuries and reduced performance.
- Players are human: 20-25% of UK and US populations suffer from some form of sleep disorder, many of which are undiagnosed. That’s potentially ¼ of your squad. If you can profile for sleep disorders in your team, your medical staff can intervene to address them.
- Stay in shape: Poor sleep consistency impacts body-weight. Well rested players are able to maintain optimal body weight, whereas those who have poor patterns will have an imbalance in their appetite hormones and metabolism – this can result in craving all the wrong foods at all the wrong times.
- Late Games = No Sleep?: Many players report having serious difficulties sleeping after evening games. Do you know which players are suffering worst from this and what impact it has on the next fixture? What’s the best possible training and travelling schedule to stick to, recognizing that sleep plays a central role to your team’s success?
- Up with the larks: As a coach, you might like to get up early and get things done before breakfast, but young players simply don’t have the same body-clocks and have a much greater sleep requirement. Dragging them out of bed for a pre-dawn practice might be terribly counter-productive. Fatigue Science technology can help schedule practice and travel to ensure your players are getting sufficient rest between practices and games.
- Most vulnerable: Your youngest players (esp. 18-22 year olds) often come out of their adolescence with a high volume of sleep debt as a result of growing into young men or women. Get some insight into your younger players’ sleep habits and circadian rhythms to help educate them how to re-pay the debt so they can perform their best.
- Even good sleepers have their challenges: Major life changes that require coping with change can affect sleep. New babies, family stress, strained relationships, moving house, living overseas, all add a significant stresses that can affect a player’s ability to get good quantity and quality sleep. It’s important to help understand when there is a sleep issue and how to address it.
- Real data: Studies show that a person’s ability to judge their own sleep is flawed. Athlete’s participating in a study in the US self-reported (on average) 70 minutes more sleep than they were actually obtaining. Using Readiband technology allows teams to start managing fatigue and recovery – starting with real data.
With Fatigue Science technology, you can work with your players to create a full profile and reduce injury risk, increase mood and focus, create better schedules, and provide them with real insights on how their sleep is affecting their on-the-field performance.
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