How Airline Crews Plan Their Sleep
Deep Dive Featured Safety

How Airline Crews Plan Their Sleep

DALLAS — Sleep is essential to everyone’s well-being and growth. It involves the body refraining from physical activities and interacting with its surroundings. The brain organizes vital mental functions when you sleep, repairs bodily tissues, and replicates DNA for growth, among other things.

For cognitive abilities, including speech, memory, creativity, and flexibility, to remain at normal levels, adequate sleep is essential. A person who doesn’t get enough sleep may work less effectively, be less focused, make more mistakes, become irritable, and possibly become a weak link in any team’s performance.

If a significant amount of sleep is lost, it will result in fatigue, depression, digestive problems, and an increased chance of errors.

Of course, such issues for aviation workers could have catastrophic consequences, which is why aircrews’ sleep, rest, and fatigue patterns are so closely monitored.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the chemistry of sleep, sleep planning, time zones, jet-lag recovery, and pilots’ and flight attendants’ perspectives on the matter.

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Featured Image: Sleep and achieving adequate rest is critical for aircrews. Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways

Maximillian Philberth is an electronics scientist and a licensed Flight Operations Officer with studies in cyber security policies for aviation and internet infrastructure. Max's interests in commercial aviation include flight dispatch, flying, and maintenance; plus cyber security, 5G, and aviation safety. Based in Tanzania.

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