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

Article


Vincent, Grace, Ferguson, Sally A., Tran, Jacqueline, Larsen, Brianna, Wolkow, Alexander and Aisbett, Brad. 2015. "Sleep restriction during simulated wildfire suppression: effect on physical task performance." PLoS One. 10 (1), pp. 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0115329
Article Title

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

ERA Journal ID39745
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsVincent, Grace (Author), Ferguson, Sally A. (Author), Tran, Jacqueline (Author), Larsen, Brianna (Author), Wolkow, Alexander (Author) and Aisbett, Brad (Author)
Journal TitlePLoS One
Journal Citation10 (1), pp. 1-16
Article Numbere0115329
Number of Pages16
Year2015
PublisherPublic Library of Science (PLoS)
Place of PublicationUnited States
ISSN1932-6203
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0115329
Abstract

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

Methods
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.

Results
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.

Conclusions
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.

Keywordsdeprivation; work; models; temperature; fatigue; capacity; duration; validity
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420702. Exercise physiology
350505. Occupational and workplace health and safety
Public Notes

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.

Byline AffiliationsDeakin University
Central Queensland University
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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