College students may believe they are being more productive when they sleep less, but in reality it is causing harm to their bodies. The National Sleep Foundation points out that receiving less than six hours of sleep a night is associated with 1.7 times greater risk of disease, according to http://www.sleepfoundation.org. The chance of decreased academic performance, driving accidents, colds and flu and mental illnesses are all increased.
Fatigue is worsened when lack of sleep is coupled with a disruption to the body’s circadian rhythm, which regulates high and low energy periods throughout the day – common among flight and ground crews as well as controllers.
And it’s also magnified by jetlag. One U.S. sleep researcher estimates 96 per cent of airline pilots and flight attendants operate in a permanent state of jetlag.
“On our mission, with where the sun is, we have 55 minutes of daylight followed by 75 minutes of darkness … and that does affect your circadian rhythm,” MacLean replied.