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Fatigue Science announces release of 14-Day Fatigue Forecasting, enabling workforce planning 14 days in advance

Worker with IPad above a worksite

Breakthrough fatigue management technology reducing uncertainty and enabling workforce planning 14 days in advance

Fatigue Science, the global leader in providing human fatigue and performance predictive analytics and fatigue management information systems to heavy industry, military, and elite sports teams, is pleased to announce the launch of 14-Day Fatigue Forecasting, a breakthrough advancement in fatigue management technology and powerful new addition to its Readi™ Enterprise Suite software platform.

Readi Enterprise Suite, the Fatigue Management Information System from Fatigue Science, is widely relied upon for its ability to provide objective historical and real-time visibility into workforce fatigue. Now, the release of 14-Day Fatigue Forecasting expands this visibility into the future, providing the world’s first “360º view of fatigue – past, present, and future.” With this advancement, proactive planning measures and proactive safety-critical actions that were previously impossible are now visible and achievable.

14-Day Fatigue Foercast Feature screen shot

“Our customers across heavy industry, military, and elite sports have long understood that the further in advance they identify fatigue challenges, the more effectively they can prepare for and manage it,” says Andrew Morden, President and CEO of Fatigue Science. “While real-time and historical insights certainly play an important role in fatigue management, our customers have long envisioned identifying and managing both routine and mission-critical fatigue hotspots weeks in advance of the problem. This window of time makes proactive measures, both practical and executable.”

With 14-Day Fatigue Forecasting, supervisors and management can now view fatigue projections showing the “who, when, and where” of workforce fatigue over the next two weeks. An authorized supervisor can view a heatmap of their crew members, spotting at-a-glance any workers who are likely to become fatigued in the next two weeks, and on which specific days. Supervisors can then reach out to individuals, sharing data-backed guidance to focus on sleep on certain days and to be particularly cautious at work when those days arrive. Moreover, supervisors can plan critical tasks for the times of least fatigue, choosing the right worker for the right task, at the right time.

At the group level, superintendents can assess the fatigue forecast of all the crews they manage, and ensure that crew supervisors are aware of which days their crew is likely to face the highest fatigue – as well as any “hotspot hours” on those days. A crew may discover, for instance, that the period from 3:00 am to 5:00 am on the 4th night shift next week poses an outsized fatigue risk for complex tasks. Conversely, teams can also identify their lowest risk, highest productivity hours, and plan the most complex or challenging tasks for those times.

“From a supervisor’s perspective, it’s more than just an eye-opener – Fatigue Forecasts provide specifically actionable data that enables you to match workers to the appropriate task at the optimal time,” says Robert Higdon, VP of Product & Corporate Development.

“And from a worker’s perspective, it’s valuable to know when fatigue is likely to hit you the hardest – far enough in advance that you still have a chance to avert it. Practically speaking, this is a ‘heads up’ that you can actually act on, focusing on your sleep and potentially staving off some of the worst fatigue to come,” adds Higdon.

“Putting forecasts in the hands of our key customers, we see supervisors asking questions that were previously impractical. ‘We’ve got a high fatigue day coming up next Tuesday. What are we doing to prepare for it?, ” says David Trotter, Senior VP of Sales & Marketing. “Instead of just suspecting that fatigue is coming, teams are now planning their most challenging tasks for the lowest risk times, and alerting workers who are likely to be most impacted.”

A Significant Advancement on FAST® Technology, the Trusted Tool for Fatigue Modeling

14-Day Fatigue Forecasting is built on top of FAST®, Fatigue Science’s Fatigue Avoidance Scheduling Tool, which has been widely used for decades by flight schedulers, mission planners, and elite sports teams to model fatigue in schedule simulations.

FAST is renowned for its use in the US Air Force, the Federal Aviation Administration, and a large percentage of global airlines for schedule optimization. Fatigue Science has now built FAST® technology directly into 14-Day Fatigue Forecasting, leveraging each crew’s schedule as a starting point for their forecast.

On top of this foundation, 14-Day Fatigue Forecasting offers a significant advancement over FAST. Whereas FAST’s simulations are based on generic sleep assumptions, in 14-Day Fatigue Forecasting, each forecast is personalized using the unique and specific sleep profiles of each participant – data which are collected from validated wearables in Readi Enterprise Suite.

14-Day Product Screen Shot of Heatmap

This personalization represents a fundamental step-change for schedule modeling at large – with the takeaway that simulations are now grounded in real-world conditions that pertain directly to the individuals working those schedules. In practical terms, this means schedule simulations are no longer just conceptual exercises to perform once a year when considering schedule changes. Instead, they are meaningful forecasts that supervisors can act on in day-to-day operations.

Of course, schedulers themselves, the traditional users of FAST, also stand to benefit from forecast personalization. Choosing the right schedule for the right crew may depend on personal sleep factors, and schedulers can now take this into account using Fatigue Forecasting, offering them the chance to present significantly more personalized and relevant schedule recommendations.

Machine Learning on Top of the Foundation of SAFTE™

Fatigue Forecasting will continue to grow even more personalized over time, as Fatigue Science applies Machine Learning to its forecasts, continuously improving projections by leveraging contextual data unique to each situation, and comparing forecasts to actual data once it’s recorded by wearables. Customers who adopt Fatigue Forecasting early will have the most to gain, as they’ll have accrued the largest data sets informing their forecasts going forward.

Finally, underneath it all remains the established SAFTE Biomathematical Fatigue Model, the proprietary algorithm developed by the Walter Reid Army Institute of Research at the U.S. Army and validated extensively by leading institutions such as the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration. SAFTE is the engine that converts sleep and circadian factors into an objective fatigue prediction, quantifying its effects on cognitive effectiveness, reaction time, and lapse likelihood.

Productivity, Safety, and ROI: Reducing Uncertainty with a 360º View of Fatigue

In recent months, new telematics studies released by Fatigue Science have provided further evidence of the significant relationship between workers’ fatigue levels and the productivity and safety outcomes of industrial operations. “When we showed mining customers their own data revealing the productivity gains possible when fatigue is managed for haul truck or mining shovel operators, they immediately made process changes to ensure more workers are performing key tasks when they were ‘in the green [low fatigue zone]’,” adds Morden. 14-Day Fatigue Forecasting now enables organizations to take full advantage of that correlation.

“Now, customers can actually plan out weekly tasks for those highest productivity and safest times of day – and avoid planning specific complex tasks for the riskiest times. The potential impact on productivity and worker safety here is massive,” says Morden.

As workforces continue to face strain from COVID-19, the need to reduce uncertainty is a more prominent C-Suite concern, and planning tasks with greater confidence is a core part of today’s reality. “When we released fatigue analytics this past May, customers saw this as eliminating a historical blind-spot, just as telematics and IoT data did for equipment,” says Morden.

“Now, Fatigue Forecasting is akin to predictive maintenance, which enables operations teams to plan the future with greater certainty, before critical needs arise,” says Morden. “Where our solutions have already helped customers achieve a payback within weeks to months, we now see an acceleration of that return on investment with Fatigue Forecasting, all the while improving the health and safety of employees at a time of global need.”

Fatigue Forecasting is launching today with deployments at several major global mining firms, with many more slated to deploy in the coming weeks. All existing customers with access to ReadiAnalytics have immediate access to Fatigue Forecasting as part of their subscription.

About Fatigue Science

Fatigue Science is the leading provider of predictive human performance data in heavy industry, elite sports, and military. Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, we build software that leverages scientifically-validated biomathematical models in order to quantify and predict the cumulative effects of sleep disruption on human reaction time and cognitive effectiveness. Our solutions enable organizations to optimize operations, reduce risk, and drive performance and productivity improvements — both at an individual- and enterprise-level. With proven impact, return on investment, and significant and growing traction in heavy industry, military, and elite sports, Fatigue Science serves cutting-edge organizations who understand the importance of sleep as well as the value of data-driven decision-making.

Introducing the Fatigue Science 90-Day Pilot Program

Mining truck at a mining site.

When introducing a new initiative into a workforce, it’s important to prepare for feedback, change management, and policy development. With that in mind, Fatigue Science provides a 90-day Pilot Program to help implement Readi™ Enterprise Suite as part of your company’s approach to fatigue risk management.

During your 90-day pilot, a Fatigue Science advisor will work with operations leaders and health and safety managers to understand the outcomes you’re looking to achieve with your deployment of Readi Enterprise Solution. Whether you’re looking to reduce fatigue exposure to improve safety, productivity, or both, an advisor can help select the best staff at your company, and create a deployment plan that fits your pilot objectives.

Readi™ Enterprise Suite 

Fatigue Science’s 90-Day Pilot Program gives you the opportunity to trial the Readi Enterprise Suite Solution with leadership, supervisors, and staff:

  • Readi provides personal Fatigue Alerts on mobile and wrist with compatible wearables, as well as a daily Fatigue Forecast upon wake-up, providing at-a-glance insight into personal fatigue risks for the day ahead. Users additionally receive sleep and fatigue insights such as a ReadiScore™ that allows them to make better choices based on their risk level.
  • ReadiSupervise enables supervisors to monitor current and upcoming fatigue levels of each member of their crew, with an “on-duty dashboard” and risk alert notifications. These tools enable informed interventions in cases of critical fatigue, as well as the planning of key tasks, ultimately driving productivity and reducing accidents.
  • ReadiAnalytics™ provides aggregated insights into workforce fatigue at the group-, location-, and organization-level, enabling management to establish a fatigue baseline, identify problem areas, and track improvements over time relative to meaningful targets. Insights for leaders can inform planning for resource allocation, fatigue training, and schedule optimization, further driving safety and productivity.

Your advisor will help to break down the data from each of these applications to target your key metrics, as well as to discuss potential fatigue management strategies.

Orienting Yourself and Your Staff

A pilot program typically lasts three months, which provides time for workforce orientation with Readi, identification of trends, and strategies to reduce fatigue-related risk in your workforce.

A pilot covers all phases of Readi’s use within your organization, from pre-launch and the initial roll-out, managing participation, data collection and analysis, actionable takeaways, and next steps.

By the end of your pilot program, you will be prepared to:

  • Understand the level of fatigue exposure across your company. This includes clear takeaways for leadership, supervisors, and staff that can help to reduce fatigue risks at all levels.
  • Determine a path forward for utilizing the predictive fatigue risk management tools of Readi Enterprise Suite on an ongoing basis in your operation. This includes a breakdown of the targets that will help you to reach your organizational goals and the methods to measure them.
  • Identify and adjust for the root causes of fatigue within your company and implement solutions. This includes adjusting work schedules, optimizing processes, and introducing training to educate staff.
  • Understand how daily sleep and fatigue insights can allow participants to optimize their work day, plan for sleep, and increase awareness of heightened fatigue risk.

Talk to Our Team!

As no two workplaces are the same, fatigue risk management strategies must be tailored to meet the unique needs of an organization. Whether your work environment includes shift work, long commutes, or high-risk work, your plan for fatigue management should be comprehensive.

Our pilot program is designed with the complexity of your organization in mind. To speak with one of our advisors about implementing a 90-day pilot within your company, contact our team here.

About Fatigue Science

Fatigue Science is the leading provider of predictive human performance data in heavy industry, elite sports, and military. Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, we build software that leverages scientifically-validated biomathematical models in order to quantify and predict the cumulative effects of sleep disruption on human reaction time and cognitive effectiveness. Our solutions enable organizations to optimize operations, reduce risk, and drive performance and productivity improvements — both at an individual- and enterprise-level. With proven impact, return on investment, and significant and growing traction in heavy industry, military, and elite sports, Fatigue Science serves cutting-edge organizations who understand the importance of sleep as well as the value of data-driven decision-making.

Introducing ReadiAnalytics: real-time objective visibility into workforce fatigue

Fatigue Science, a global leader in providing predictive analytics on human performance to industrial firms, elite sport teams, and the military, is pleased to announce the launch of ReadiAnalytics™, a first-of-its-kind analytics and Fatigue Management Information System, as part of its software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform. ReadiAnalytics delivers real-time, scientifically validated, and objective visibility into workforce fatigue levels and its underlying causes.

Fatigue management has recently emerged as a C-Suite priority for heavy industry firms, as executives in mining, oil & gas, construction, and a number of other vertical industries with complex operations are now recognizing the proven correlation between workforce fatigue and operational productivity. New data reveals that less fatigued workforces are measurably more productive and that data confirms the well-established benefits for employee health, safety, and retention. Military command and elite sports leadership are likewise focused on performance optimization and fatigue risk management.

 

As the incremental productivity benefits and associated return on investment (ROI) are now clear, leadership teams are seeking objective, timely and quantified measures of on duty fatigue levels for each crew or team and site in their operation. ReadiAnalytics was designed in consultation with these customers specifically to meet this need and to help them achieve measurable fatigue reduction goals. The analytics suite delivers actionable fatigue and performance insights tailored to the needs of executives, military command, operations leadership, coaches, supervisors, and teams as well as health and safety professionals. 

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Data-Driven Decision-Making

Industrial firms, the military, and elite sports pursuit of objective data to support performance optimization coincides with a larger trend: the shift toward data-driven decision-making enabled by the IloT. While data on machine performance has grown exponentially in recent years, data on workforce performance and fatigue have long been viewed as a blind spot for otherwise data-rich organizations. 

“Our customers today have operational data flowing from nearly every asset in their operation: trucks, pipes, shovels, and pumps all generate millions of data points each day. And yet, most industrial firms lack objective measures on the performance of their most valuable asset: their workforce,” says Andrew Morden, President and CEO of Fatigue Science. “When it comes to the causes and extent of worker fatigue, most management teams are essentially ‘flying blind’. Now with ReadiAnalytics™, firms no longer need to guess when and where fatigue is present, or how significant it is. The validated data is right there in the dashboard, on-demand and in real-time.”

 

Unlike subjective methods for estimating crew fatigue, ReadiAnalytics captures anonymous sleep data from a sample of crew workers and then processes it alongside a variety of circadian factors with a scientifically-validated biomathematical model. The model then quantifies which on duty crews will be the most and least fatigued, and how that fatigue will trend over time as their shift pattern progresses. Crucially, worker privacy is preserved, as insights are anonymized and aggregated for each crew, site, and the company. 

Beyond providing fatigue data, ReadiAnalytics also reveals the underlying causes of this fatigue. It segments the portion that is attributable to structural factors, like schedules, versus human factors, such as sleep health and habits. These insights are instrumental in informing specific strategies to reduce fatigue levels, and ultimately, drive concrete improvements to productivity, safety, and cost. 

“When we spoke to customers, a recurring theme emerged: ‘We recognize fatigue is important, but if we really want to invest in fixing the root causes, we need to be able to objectively measure our baseline fatigue level, and then track our progress toward reducing it over time.’ As the saying goes, ‘You can’t manage what you can’t measure,’” says Robert Higdon, Vice President of Product and Corporate Development. 

As employers implement specific efforts to reduce workforce fatigue, they need ongoing measures of their effectiveness, and the opportunity to adjust course. “Our customers are  accustomed to data-driven decision-making when optimizing their machinery. We’re proud to now enable organizations in taking a similar approach to their workforce decision processes—particularly because workers’ well-being, safety, and productivity actually move in tandem,” says David Trotter, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. 

ReadiAnalytics also empowers our military and elite sports clients who are consistently focused on fatigue and its associated impact on human performance.

Fatigue Management, a Win-Win in Today’s Challenging Time

The intersection of productivity and health and safety represents a particularly compelling win-win for all types of organizations in this challenging and unprecedented time. As humanity collectively continues to work through the COVID-19 pandemic, employers are recognizing their role and responsibility for providing employees with working conditions that are conducive to their health and safety. 

This focus on employee well-being is particularly relevant in heavy industry, where workers routinely perform dangerous or complex tasks in high-risk environments, all while working extended shifts, often at night and in remote environments. 

“So often, and particularly at this moment in history, employers are being forced to choose between their bottom line and the health and safety of their workers. Reducing fatigue, fortunately, is one of those rare opportunities where safeguarding workers’ health also maximizes productivity,” says Morden. 

“With ReadiAnalytics, we’ve shown customers a direct correlation between workers’ fatigue levels and their hourly output. For example, we paired our proprietary fatigue data with telematics data from haul trucks and mine shovels,” added Morden. “At the same time, sleep is fundamentally important for a healthy immune system, with documented benefits for both reducing short-term absenteeism and increasing long-term employee retention. Reducing the hard costs from accidents, incidents, and equipment damage attributable to fatigue is also a key motivator for employers looking to use our predictive analytics to achieve a measurable reduction in fatigue.”

Nearly 65% of industrial accidents in surface mining alone are related to fatigue.

Decades of Scientific Validation, Paired with Cutting-Edge Technology

ReadiAnalytics is the newest flagship offering in Fatigue Science’s renowned fatigue risk management software suite, Readi Enterprise Suite™

At the core of Readi Enterprise Suite is the SAFTE™ Biomathematical Fatigue Model, a proprietary algorithm developed by the U.S. Army Research Lab and available exclusively from Fatigue Science. SAFTE accepts workers’ cumulative sleep data and circadian factors as an input and then translates those data into three objective and quantifiable measures of performance: cognitive effectiveness, reaction time, and likelihood to lapse (which is related to a tendency for micro-sleeps). Collectively, these factors comprise what is meant by fatigue in a human performance context. 

SAFTE has been validated extensively by leading institutions such as the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration, and its measurements have shown a direct correlation to real-world productivity and safety outcomes, as measured by telematics and video-verified incident data.

For years, Readi Enterprise Suite has served a dual purpose for its customers: provide individuals with daily insight into their fatigue levels via our smartphone app called Readi, and provide leadership with aggregated insights into organizational fatigue. Up until now, the insights for leadership were only available via manual analysis that often brought weeks or months of delays between when the data was captured and when it was delivered.

“We discovered the data is tangibly more actionable when it is on-demand, as our clients can then measure progress continuously, in any segment of their workforce or team,” says Morden. “ReadiAnalytics automates the entire analysis and delivery process in a real-time solution that effortlessly scales to the largest industrial workforces or military divisions.” 

“Through our testing, we’ve found that leadership teams are far more likely to implement fatigue reduction initiatives if they can see the results in real-time, and adjust course before the effort is wasted,” says Higdon. “Crew supervisors benefit as well, as crew level data enables effective task planning and their ability to reinforce the importance of sleep to their workers. They often cite a friendly ‘competition’ in the participating crews, where each supervisor can encourage their own crew to focus on their sleep, comparing its fatigue levels to other crews.”

“We see ReadiAnalytics really unlocking organizations’ use of our fatigue metrics not just once a quarter or twice a year, but on a daily basis to drive results within day-to-day operations,” concludes Morden.

A Benefit for Workforce Participants

Like all tools in Readi Enterprise Suite, ReadiAnalytics is a hardware agnostic platform, compatible with a growing range of validated sleep tracking devices, such as the ReadiBand from Fatigue Science, as well as select validated devices from Fitbit and Garmin. This flexibility makes it easy to recruit volunteers from a workforce. “The pitch to workers is simple: Volunteer to share your anonymized sleep data with the Readi program, and in exchange, you’ll get a Fitbit, Garmin, or ReadiBand. You’ll also help leadership provide better, less fatiguing working conditions,” says Trotter. Consequently, early pilot customers of ReadiAnalytics regularly see more participants than initially planned. 

Return on Investment (ROI)

For progressive industrial firms, adopting new technology offers the prospect of a win-win where trade-offs previously existed. “With ReadiAnalytics, customers are able to see a payback on their investment within weeks to months,” says Trotter. “And that’s just the ROI from productivity. Our customers also find a significant reduction in costs and an improvement in safety outcomes when they achieve a measurable reduction in fatigue. In these challenging times, we’re excited to play a part in helping organizations improve the health, safety, and performance of workers, soldiers, and athletes through new technology.”

ReadiAnalytics is launching today with deployments at several major global mining firms, with many more slated to deploy in the coming weeks. All existing Fatigue Science customers have immediate access to ReadiAnlaytics at no cost for a period of 90 days.

Sleeping giant: Fatigue Science sets sights on expansion, new markets for wearable tech and fatigue monitoring

When Fatigue Science signed its first contract with a professional sports team in 2008-2009, understanding of wearable technology was in its infancy. And the idea that sleep was a key factor in professional sports was just starting to surface. Now the use of wearable tech is exploding across professional sports and well beyond. And sleep? Sleep is widely recognized as amongst the most important factors in elite human performance.

Fatigue Science’s early combination of scientifically validated sleep monitoring and wearable technology is not only continuing to push what is possible for professional athletes. Now it can predict fatigue across large industrial workforces. And that, could save lives.

“Our first NFL engagement, for example, was with the Seattle Seahawks,” says Fatigue Science CEO Sean Kerklaan. “At that point, capturing meaningful, accurate sleep and fatigue data on ten professional football players using wearable technology was difficult, to say the least. But we’ve come a long, long way and that early experience is translating into innovation.“

 

New markets for wearable tech and fatigue monitoring

 

Those early learnings came from joining professional sports teams like the Seahawks, the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks and the MLB’s Seattle Mariners. Fatigue Science travelled across North America for practices and training seminars, going to great lengths to analyze individual player’s sleep data, model travel and time zone impacts on performance and most importantly, to develop deep relationships with the people impacted by fatigue and its consequences.

However, large scale deployments remained a challenge because the technology, while exceptionally accurate, used to involve much more manual work. Many obstacles, solutions, friendships and a couple of Super Bowl appearances later, and Fatigue Science has refined a winning system; a much more automated, predictive one that promises to lead the future of wearable technology’s use for both professional teams and large industrial workforces in areas like mining and transportation.

“As we get set to launch a new version of our platform, I can say those early difficulties were definitely worth the effort,” says Kerklaan. “Deep engagements, shared determination and curiosity, working collaboratively through pain points with our clients, that’s the backbone of our business model. People remain our focus, even in the emerging tech sector, and always will. That’s why we continue to be so successful.

“The latest update to our product means we’ll not only be capable of serving our professional sports clients more effectively, but that we’re able to move into much larger engagements. And most important, we’re capable of predicting and preventing fatigue-related accidents in the industrial workplace, which is an enormous, often tragic issue.”

 

Nearly 65% of industrial accidents in surface mining alone are related to fatigue.

 

In the US alone, 100,000 crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year, resulting in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and a cost of $12.5 billion. The Sleep, Activity, Fatigue, Effectiveness (SAFTE) model, licensed exclusively to Fatigue Science is scientifically validated and considered the most reliable predictor of fatigue by the US Department of Defense.

 

Risk Management for wearable tech

 

Advances in the Fatigue Science platform now allow exponentially more data to be gathered and processed. Fatigue Science can then provide predictive SAFTE scores for at-risk workforces in the thousands. These scores then prompt difference making decisions about fatigue impairment and danger at a glance, on a personal or company-wide mobile dashboard. And this, says Kerklaan, benefits elite teams in every industry.

“We continue to work closely with professional sports teams to improve elite human performance,” says Kerklaan. “Now we’re also helping organizations champion improved health and safety by quantifying something that has never been quantifiable. Something that happens to be among the most important indicators of industry’s biggest safety dangers: Fatigue.”

As the Fatigue Science platform continues to evolve and grow in order to serve larger, more complex organizations, so too does the company.

Recent changes to the Fatigue Science Board of Directors include the addition of Laurie Wallace as Chairman (Chairman of the Board, QuickMobile) and Dan Eisenhardt (Founder & CEO of Recon Instruments, GM of Intel New Devices Group). Both have been instrumental in helping guide the company through Series A financing, which is expected to complete shortly.

“We couldn’t dream of a better board than the one we have in place,” says Kerklaan. “Fatigue Science is well positioned and ready to lead further innovation in the wearable technology sector.”

To learn more about the Fatigue Science story, contact us.

It’s not just physical: The difference between mental and physical fatigue

We know athletes are exhausted in more ways than one, but it’s not just physical fatigue that’s affecting their performance. At Fatigue Science, when we talk about fatigue, we’re talking about reduced alertness, reaction time, and effectiveness—all of which manifest in the form of sub-optimal athletic performance. This mental fatigue results from inadequate sleep or when sleep and activities fall outside of our biological need to consistently sleep at night and be active in the day—it’s not the same as fatigue resulting from physical exertion.

Mental fatigue

Those who routinely obtain less than 7-9 hours of interrupted sleep per 24-hour period will have a high homeostatic drive for sleep as the body struggles to restore balance. In addition, scheduling inconsistencies often lead to a high circadian drive for sleep at exactly the wrong times of day as well as to sleep-initiation problems at night.

So, when athletes lose sleep due to any number of factors, when they’re unable to stick to a consistent bedtime due to travel or social engagements, and when they have to train or play at the “wrong” times in a new time zone, they’ll be faced with both a high homeostatic and a high circadian drive for sleep. The result will be impaired judgment, reaction time, and situational awareness—the hallmarks of poor mental effectiveness.

Physical fatigue

Physical effectiveness, or energy, is different. It’s a function of non-sleep and circadian-related factors such as the type, intensity and volume of exercise (or physical labor) as well as muscle fiber composition, neuromuscular characteristics, high energy metabolite stores, buffering capacity, ionic regulation, capillarization, and mitochondrial density. Physical energy can be viewed as the capacity to perform a certain amount and intensity of physical activity for a given period of time. Elite athletes, who routinely engage in high-intensity training, are far less susceptible to physical fatigue than those who are sedentary. They run faster, lift more weight, and perform for longer periods of time due to their enhanced physical conditioning.

The difference between mental and physical fatigue

Mental and physical energy are governed by very different underlying processes—they’re separate biological functions. Having said that, they can coexist.

If one’s physically exhausted due to high-intensity physical activity, they may struggle to run, lift, or play, but their alertness and concentration will remain intact. In fact, most research concludes that physical activity has either a positive effect or more often, little or no impact on mental performance.

However, when a person’s mentally exhausted due to sleep deprivation, their alertness will suffer while most aspects critical for physical performance will be preserved. And while sleep loss affects mood, motivation, judgement, situational-awareness, memory, and alertness, it doesn’t directly affect cardiovascular and respiratory responses to exercise of varying intensity, aerobic and anaerobic performance capability, or muscle strength and electromechanical responses. But, time-to-physical-exhaustion is shorter and their perception of exertion and endurance is distorted.

Even though physical fatigue has little to no impact on mental alertness, the reverse is true—the psychological realm has a great deal of impact on the physical. This is how a competitive decline takes root under conditions of sleep loss.

Learn more about the differences between mental and physical fatigue in this comprehensive eBook, The Science of Sleep. DOWNLOAD NOW.


References

Effects of physical activity and inactivity on muscle fatigue
Bogdanis G.C. (2012)

Neurocognitive Consequences of Sleep Deprivation
Durmer J.S., Dinges D.F. (2005)

The Effects of Physical Exertion on Cognitive Performance
Krausman A.S., Crowell III H.P., Wilson R.M. (2002)

Cognitive methods for assessing mental energy
Lieberman H.R. (2007)

Sleep deprivation and cardiorespiratory function. Influence of intermittent submaximal exercise
Plyley M.J., Shephard R.J., Davis G.M., Goode R.C. (1987)

Investigating the interaction between the homeostatic and circadian processes of sleep–wake regulation for the prediction of waking neurobehavioural performance
Van Dongen H.P.A., Dinges D.F. (2002)

Sleep deprivation and the effect on exercise performance
VanHelder T., Radomski M.W. (1989)

Global BC News: What effect does daylight savings time have on your body?

Global BC news visited with Fatigue Science CEO, Sean Kerklaan, to learn more about the effects of daylight savings and why everyone should take advantage of the extra hour of sleep during the Fall time change.

There’s well-established evidence to suggest that when we set our clocks forward in the spring, that lost hour of sleep increases the number of car accidents even heart attacks the next day. But, the fall time change makes things more dangerous for pedestrians who are now leaving work in the dark. An American study found pedestrians were three times more likely to be fatally struck than prior to the fall time change. Daylight Saving Time can actually have an effect on our sleep patterns for up to a week. So when the clocks roll back tonight, don’t stay up late even if tempted – instead do the opposite take advantage of the extra sleep and do your body a favour.