A WSU Spokane grad is doing research aboard a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer in the Arabian Sea to help figure out better sailor watch schedules.
According to WSU News, Lauren Waggoner boarded the USS Jason Dunham in December to study the effects of different watch-standing schedules on the sleep and performance of sailors. She is analyzing the data collected.
Her goal is to find ways to keep sailors healthy and safe in a demanding 24-hour-a-day work environment where they are required to stand watches in addition to fulfilling their normal work responsibilities.
"Often times, on bigger vessels—and even the mid-size destroyer we were on—sailors don’t get adequate sleep. They also don’t get outside much, so they don’t get much exposure to environmental factors that would help them regulate their sleep and wake cycles,” Waggoner said. "Based on earlier research, we can assume that, in combination with other factors, this can lead to performance deficits.”
Waggoner has collected data for three weeks on the sleep and performance of 122 sailors working a variety of watch schedules.