Spring 2022 - 10

EMT & FIRE
Effects of Sleep Deprivation on EMTs
By Wesley Sykes, Managing Editor
I
..n recent years, the effects of sleep
..deprivation and its effects on EMS
health and safety have come onto the radar.
Depending on the area, it is not uncommon for
EMS personnel to work 24-hour shifts. The
responsibilities of EMS personnel require them
to remain alert and attentive at all times in order
to prevent procedural errors and avoid injury to
themselves, co-workers, patients, and others.
Studies show that consistently working
long shifts causes fatigue, which makes even
simple tasks become difficult, drug calculations
more challenging, and the overall environment
more unsafe.
Sleep deprivation compromises brain and
body systems, which prevents them from
functioning properly and diminishing the quality
of life. For their own health and safety, as well
10 | Tactical Training & Conditioning | Spring 2022
as the well-being of others, EMS professionals
are required to be aware of the long-term
effects of the lack of sleep and the effects of
fatigue in the workplace.
Just like the body needs air and food to
function properly-- it also requires sleep.
According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at
Harvard Medical School, important restorative
functions take place during the sleep state.
When a person sleeps, the body performs
tissue repair, muscle growth, and protein
synthesis. EMS staff who consistently receive
less than eight hours of sleep per night have an
increased risk of succumbing to:
* Weight gain
* Diabetes
* Cardiovascular disease
* Hypertension

Spring 2022

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