Sleep and Sleepiness Measured by Diaries and Actigraphy among Norwegian and Austrian Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Pilots
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH). 2022, 19 (7), 4311. 10.3390/ijerph19074311
The study examined sleep and sleepiness among shift working Helicopter Emergency Medical Service pilots from Norway (Norwegian Air Ambulance; NAA) and Austria (Christophorus Flugrettungverein; CFV). Both pilot groups (N = 47) worked seven consecutive 24 h shifts. Sleep was assessed by diaries and actigraphy while sleepiness was assessed by the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale, all administered throughout the workweek. The results indicated that all pilots had later bedtime (p < 0.05) and wake-up time (p < 0.01) as they approached the workweek end, but no change during the workweek was evident regarding wake after sleep onset, time in bed, total sleep time, or sleep efficiency. The NAA pilots had later bedtime (p < 0.001) and wake-up time (p < 0.001), spent more time awake after sleep onset (p < 0.001), more time in bed (p < 0.001), slept longer (p < 0.01), and had lower sleep efficiency (p < 0.001) compared with the CFV pilots. The sleepiness levels of all pilots were slightly elevated on the first workday but lower on the following workdays (day 2 p < 0.001, day 3 p < 0.05). For both pilot groups, no major change in sleep or sleepiness parameters throughout the workweek was detected. The NAA pilots reported somewhat more disturbed sleep but obtained more sleep compared with the CFV pilots.