Peak Performance through quality sleep – Some Top Tips

There is a lot more to getting effective quality sleep at sea than just the right sleeping bag. Here is where we discuss those issues and share tips

Peak Performance through quality sleep – Some Top Tips

Postby OSmod » 14 Mar 2011 23:29

1. Warm Dry Sleep = Better Sleep. This is not rocket science!

2. When you are tired your core temperature drops, so even in warmer climates it is important to have a warm sleeping bag to crawl into.

Body temperature has a vital role in the onset of sleep the body needs to drop its core temperature in order for sleep to initiate normally, according to Research Fellow Dr Cameron van den Heuvel at UniSA's Centre for Sleep Research. "About one to one and a half hours before falling sleep, the body starts to lose heat from its central core and that brings on increased feelings of tiredness in normal healthy adults. These physiological changes happen well before going to bed and may be occurring before people realise them," Dr van den Heuvel said.

3. Avoid cold stress. While avoiding hypothermia is obvious as an extreme, your performance will be reduced long before real hypothermia sets in. Hypothermia, defined as a core temperature below 35°C just 2° below your normal 37°C. All 3 causes of hypothermia apply to life at sea:

a. “Immersion” causing very severe cold stress - MOB maybe obvious but prolonged periods on the rail or on deck in heavy weather can have the same result.

b. “Exhaustion” - Less severe cold stress, most frequently a combination of wind and wet with moderately low temperatures and others who participate in endurance events.

c. “Urban” - Cold is relatively mild but prolonged. Most common in elderly but not uncommon in sailors who never really get warm between watches

4. Making Circadian or Biorhythms work for you. This can make a BIG difference!

The frequency of ship collisions has been found to vary considerably according to time of day, with a peak in the early hours of the morning, when physiological sleep drive is highest in people unadapted to night shifts. Individuals working more than 9-10 hours continuously have been shown to carry a nearly exponential increase in accident risk.

Energy levels depend on our circadian rhythm. Psychological function and physical exercise studies have revealed optimal times of performance coincide with the circadian rhythm. A study on sprinters has demonstrated peak running performances occurring at 1pm and 7pm relative to a normal circadian rhythm 1 (Javierre C, et al. 1995).

Clare (OSmod)
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