03 Mar 2020 09:58

AUTHOR Panagiotis

Why we Sleep, the New Science of Sleep and Dreams, Matthew Walker, Penguin Books 2018.


Within the space of a mere hundred years, human beings have abandoned their biologically mandated need for adequate sleep-one that evolution spent 3.400.000 years perfecting in service of life support functions. As a result, the decimation of sleep throughout industrialized nations is having a catastrophic impact on our health, our life expectancy, our safety, our productivity, and the education of our children.

This silent sleep loss epidemic is the greatest public health challenge we face in the twenty-first century in developed nations. If we wish to avoid the suffocating noose of sleep neglect, the premature death it inflicts, and the sickening health it invites, a radical shift in our personal, cultural, professional, and societal appreciation of sleep must occur.


It is time for us to reclaim our full right to a full night sleep, without embarrassment or the damaging stigma of laziness. In doing so, we can be reunited with that most powerful elixir of wellness and vitality, dispensed through every conceivable biological pathway. Then we may remember what it feels like to be truly awake during the day, infused with the very deepest plentitude of being.   

Airlines today are trying to manage the risks of fatigue by incorporating various tools; assessing the risks through SMS, the so-called prescriptive approach to FRM, secondly by introducing a full FRMS, and thirdly investing on bio-mathematical models. Each one of those tools cab be independently analyzed in future article. However, one needs to point that those are just tools, not the ‘Holy Grail’ of eradicating fatigue.

Fatigue is a physiological state and it can be only be in balance through acquisition of sleep. Therefore, we need to educate ourselves in acquiring the proper amount of sleep as well as the highest quality of it. Moreover, we need to get rid of misconceptions and societal biases regarding that physiological need.

The challenge lies not in the material, the bibliography or in the human nature. The challenge lies with the teachers, the academics, the practitioners, with all of us. We live in the age of information, alas in an age of poor education. We need to make people crave for knowledge because it is the only way that our species may brake the bondage of biases regulating that precious physiological need. Blaming people of being lazy because they just saying that they need more sleep is an outright distortion of the natural laws. When you are hungry you eat, when sleepy you sleep, so simple.


In our industry, the argument goes as “yes sleep deprivation creates fatigue BUT this is how things are, we are a 24/7 operation”. It is time for us to leave behind us the ‘BUT’ and move to an ‘AND’.

Below the reader can find some tips for a healthy sleep. The reader must be also able to read and try them free of biases and ‘BUTs’, after all dear colleagues it is a matter of Safety and Health (Wellbeing)



Twelve Tips for Healthy Sleep

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule. Set an alarm for bedtime. Often we set an alarm for when it’s time to wake up but fail to do so for when it is time to go to sleep.

  2. Try to exercise not later than two to three hours before your bedtime.

  3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine.

  4. Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed.

  5. Avoid large meals and beverages late at night.

  6. If possible, avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep.

  7. Do not take naps after 3 p.m .

  8. Relax before bed. A relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to music, should be part of your bedtime ritual.

  9. Take a hot bath before bed.

  10. Dark bedroom, cool bedroom, gadget-free bedroom. A TV, cell phone, or computer in the bedroom can be a distraction and deprive you of needed sleep. Turn the clock’s face out of view so you don’t worry about the time while trying to fall asleep.

  11. Have the right sunlight exposure. Daylight is key to regulating daily sleep patterns. If possible, wake up with the sun or use very bright lights in the morning.

  12. Don’t lie in bed awake. If you find yourself still awake after staying in bed for more than twenty minutes or if you are starting to feel anxious or worried, get up and do some relaxing activity until you feel sleepy. The anxiety of not being able to sleep can make it harder to fall asleep.