Our busy lives demand that we be ready for anything, 24/7. Whether it's because our job requires us to always be alert and attentive, or because our family is depending on us, we need to feel positive, energetic and focused.
Fatigue is a common and often serious problem in the workplace. Truck Drivers, for example, often attempt to live 18-hour days, making fatigue inevitable. Highway crashes, including those involving cars, peak when daily alertness is at its lowest. Many disasters, including the Chernobyl nuclear core meltdown and the Challenger disaster, occurred at night when operators were suffering from sleep loss.
If you are feeling fatigued, you may experience:
- Eyes go out of focus or close for a moment
- Slowed, slurred speech
- Blurred vision or seeing mirages ahead
- Wandering and disconnected thoughts
- Headaches or stomach aches
- Inattention to minor but potentially important details
- Degraded mental abilities (including memory, decision-making, and perception)
- Increased distractibility and irritability
- Reluctance to initiate tasks and take command
- Reduced sense of humour
How can I manage my fatigue?
In clinical studies, bright light exposure helps regulate sleep patterns by helping the body clock send signals to the rest of the body that morning has arrived. While light exposure can never replace sleep, it may produce a similar energy-boosting effect as drinking a cup of coffee, without the side effects of dehydration and possibly caffeine addiction. Bright light exposure shouldn't be used to replace sleep or to promote sleep deprivation, as nothing can replace a deep, sufficient sleep.