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Fatigue at Santa’s Workshop

Sleeping Santa Claus on white background, back view

With the winter holidays around the corner, preparations for Christmas are well underway. Stockings are being hung by the chimney with care, many are enjoying a long winter’s nap, and children are dreaming of sugar-plums.

For all the work that goes into our own celebrations, behind it all is St. Nick himself, working year ‘round to ready his sleigh full of toys. With so many gifts to deliver and so many homes to visit, it’s no wonder that Santa’s beard is white as snow.

In the winter months, Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole doesn’t see any sunlight, and Santa works under candlelight around the clock. Days turn into nights, and it can be hard for Santa and the elves to even know what time it is.

Toy building is hard work, and the elves need to be just as careful as they are quick. As the long hours pass, fatigue begins to set in. Christmas Spirit can only get them so far, and eventually, Santa and the elves need to rest. This is the story of how Santa and his elves learned the value of a good night’s sleep.

After some of the elves in the workshop expressed concerns about the long hours that Santa was putting in, Santa talked to his friends at Fatigue Science. Santa wanted a way to understand his sleep, so Fatigue Science sent him a ReadiBand™ to wear at night.

After wearing the ReadiBand to sleep for a few nights, Santa used Readi™ on his smartphone to review his sleep habits. The low ReadiScore meant that Santa could expect heavy fatigue during the day ahead. This meant that he would react more slowly, make worse decisions and that he was at higher risk of accidents.

ReadiScore Scale

Santa decided to take it easy that day, and he didn’t use any of the dangerous tools in his workshop. He talked to his friends at Fatigue Science again, and they were able to make some suggestions to help him improve his sleeping habits.

Santa continued to use the ReadiBand and Readi to see when he was at his most alert, and he waited to make all the dangerous toys during that time. Santa’s ReadiScore even began to rise as he made better choices, like avoiding Mrs. Claus’s hot chocolate before bed.

The elves noticed Santa’s success with fatigue management, and as Christmas edged closer, they wanted to make sure they were at their best. Santa introduced the elves to Fatigue Science, and they too began wearing ReadiBand devices to sleep.

Elves need to work together when they build the big toys, so they used Readi Enterprise Suite to forecast their fatigue days in advance and plan risky activities for when they’d be most alert. Using the analysis tools, the elves rescheduled their shifts and adjusted their working hours to allow better sleep and reduce risks.

That year, Santa and the elves saw great success with their fatigue risk management. The workshop at the North Pole was even ready for Christmas early when there were fewer accidents that resulted in Misfit Toys.

As Christmas Eve approached, Santa and the elves adjusted their sleep schedules, knowing they’d have a long night ahead of them. When the big night arrived, everyone at the North Pole was rested and ready to go.

Santa’s Workshop is now a safer place to work thanks to Readi Enterprise Suite, and Santa even experiences fewer accidents behind the reigns of his sleigh.

Everyone at Fatigue Science would like to wish you a safe holiday season, and in Santa’s own words, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Interested in learning more about data-driven fatigue management?

or download our free eBook on the Science of Sleep for industrial workforces

Circadian factors in workforce performance

An article published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews takes a comprehensive look at the science behind workplace fatigue. In the article, “Fatigue and its Management in the Workplace,” the authors look at the biological causes of fatigue, how the modern workplace affects these biological factors, and some of the effective ways to manage fatigue.

The article points to circadian rhythm, the body’s natural clock regulating the sleep-wake cycle, as one of two major biological factors behind sleepiness and fatigue. The authors reference research that shows how during the circadian trough, “alertness is lower, reaction time is slower, and accuracy is poorer than during the circadian peak (e.g., during daytime hours).”

Circadian Rhythms and Shift Work

With 18-26% of the U.S. workforce considered shift workers that may have non-standard schedules, the authors note that “the combination of sleep restriction and circadian disruptions can be especially devastating from an alertness and performance standpoint.” Looking specifically at performance, they later state that “circadian disruptions, especially the requirement for night work, substantially degrade cognitive performance.”

Icon of a person's head and a clock

Circadian factors mean that while fatigue is a major risk in any workplace, it is impossible to completely avoid fatigue in shift work. Among the mitigating technologies and strategies for managing fatigue, the authors highlight bio-mathematical models, stating that the SAFTE™ Fatigue model “is an accurate predictor of the effects of total sleep deprivation on the mean performance of several standard cognitive tasks and an accurate predictor of the effects of sleep-restriction on psychomotor vigilance.”

Readi Enterprise Suite™ and ReadiScore™

Using the SAFTE Fatigue Model described in this article, the Readi™ Enterprise Suite allows workplaces to forecast fatigue and predict its impact on reaction times and cognitive effectiveness. While it is impossible to avoid the circadian factors in workplaces, Readi allows workplaces to anticipate and control for fatigue, providing benefits to not only workplace safety, but mitigating risks to health and well-being.

Successful fatigue management relies on understanding and controlling the relationship between fatigue, reaction times, and the risk of workplace accidents. To make this relationship more transparent, Readi’s technology reports a ReadiScore powered by SAFTE. Studies have shown that ReadiScore has a direct relationship with slowed reaction times and accident risks.

ReadiScore Scale

Using a scale from 0-100, a ReadiScore estimates an individual’s alertness based on their quantity, quality, and consistency of sleep. ReadiScore factors in circadian rhythm and can be used to understand both current fatigue level and predict how fatigue changes throughout a work shift. Fatigue impairment as measured by ReadiScore can be compared to Blood Alcohol Concentration, and a score of 70 is similar to a BAC reading of 0.08. Understanding fatigue impairment allows employers to reduce the risks of shift work by making informed decisions around scheduling, staffing levels, and workload.

To learn more about the Readi™ Enterprise Suite and predictive fatigue modeling, contact a member of our team.

“Fatigue and its Management in the Workplace” was published in the January 2019 issue of Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. You can view the complete article here.

Interested in learning more about data-driven fatigue management?

or download our free eBook on the Science of Sleep for industrial workforces