Monday, June 22, 2015

Navy experts call for more sleep for ship crews

Navy experts call for more sleep for ship crews: That's the unequivocal demand from Navy scientists and safety officials, who claim many sailors operate well below acceptable levels, and point to costly mishaps where lack of sleep has contributed. There's also evidence that adverse sleep patterns contribute to mental health issues and sleep disorders.

Experts have called for a number of changes, to include an end to five-and-dime watch bills (five hours on, 10 hours off), modifications to meal and meeting times, and elimination of disruptions in berthing areas. But change hasn't come easy. Many leaders see the call for more and better sleep as impractical without more sailors or a reduction in the work load. And old school leaders still see it as a weakness.

Those are the attitudes that the service's sleep advocates are tirelessly fighting, so they are arming fleet leaders with new gouge and best practices to promote more alert watchstanders.

"There is a great amount of science that has looked at the effect of sleep deprivation, but the military as a whole has not fully embraced the findings," said retired Capt. John Cordle, who has commanded two ships. "The question is, how to educate commanders on the science of sleep and get it in terms that they can relate to, specifically operational readiness."