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The impact of transmeridian flight on deploying soldiers.

Graeber RC; Sing HC; Cuthbert BN
The twenty-four hour workday: proceedings of a symposium on variations in work-sleep schedules. Johnson LC, Texas DI, Colquhoun WP, Colligan MJ, eds. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 81-127, 1981 Jul; :641-675
Transmeridian flight countermeasures for use with eastward deploying soldiers were studied. Included in the experiment were 84 soldiers on an experimental aircraft and 95 on a control flight. Both flights departed the United States (US) in mid day and arrived in Germany early the next morning. Subjects were restricted to a light, low carbohydrate breakfast with fruit juice, milk, and decaffeinated coffee. Napping was prohibited. Upon boarding, a light meal was served with no caffeinated beverages or sweetened soft drinks. At 2220 Central European Time (CET), subjects were given 100 milligrams dimenhydrinate to induce sleep. Forty minutes later the lights were turned off. The lights were turned on again at 0405 CET. A high protein breakfast was served and caffeinated beverages were encouraged. No napping was allowed through the rest of the day. Control subjects ate lunch and dinner on the aircraft at normal US times and were given a breakfast snack at 0810 CET. Test subjects slept a significantly shorter time than controls during the first 2 days in Germany. The effectiveness of countermeasures was confirmed in the second more rigorous field study in which troops were transported in US Air Force C-141 jets in January. All subjects reported increase in fatigue, however, the experimental group experienced less than controls. The effect of age difference was observed by comparing the response of two groups with mean age of 21 and 34.2 years. No countermeasures were administered. Mean oral temperature rhythms for experimental and control groups showed a very rapid initial adaptation to the new time zone. A decreased performance score was noticed in both age groups, but no marked or consistent differences were revealed. Recovery time for performance tasks was directly proportional to task complexity.
Sleep-deprivation; Circadian-rhythms; Military-personnel; Physiological-stress; Task-performance; Work-performance; Psychosomatic-medicine
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Johnson LC; Texas DI; Colquhoun WP; Colligan MJ
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 81-127
Source Name
The twenty-four hour workday: proceedings of a symposium on variations in work-sleep schedules
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