Stop and revive? The effectiveness of nap and active rest breaks for reducing driver sleepiness

Watling, Christopher N., Smith, Simon S., & Horswill, Mark S. (2014) Stop and revive? The effectiveness of nap and active rest breaks for reducing driver sleepiness. In 22nd Congress of the European Sleep Research Society, 16-20 September 2014, Tallinn, Estonia.

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Abstract

Objectives

The purpose for this study was to determine the relative benefit of nap and active rest breaks for reducing driver sleepiness.

Methods

Participants were 20 healthy young adults (20-25 years), including 8 males and 12 females. A counterbalanced within-subjects design was used such that each participant completed both conditions on separate occasions, a week apart. The effects of the countermeasures were evaluated by established physiological (EEG theta and alpha absolute power), subjective (Karolinska Sleepiness Scale), and driving performance measures (Hazard Perception Task). Participants woke at 5am, and undertook a simulated driving task for two hours; each participant then had either a 15-minute nap opportunity or a 15-minute active rest break that included 10 minutes of brisk walking, followed by another hour of simulated driving.

Results

The nap break reduced EEG theta and alpha absolute power and eventually reduced subjective sleepiness levels. In contrast, the active rest break did not reduce EEG theta and alpha absolute power levels with the power levels eventually increasing. An immediate reduction of subjective sleepiness was observed, with subjective sleepiness increasing during the final hour of simulated driving. No difference was found between the two breaks for hazard perception performance.

Conclusions

Only the nap break produced a significant reduction in physiological sleepiness. The immediate reductions of subjective sleepiness following the active rest break could leave drivers with erroneous perceptions of their sleepiness, particularly as physiological sleepiness continued to increase after the break.

Impact and interest:

3 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 75149
Item Type: Conference Item (Poster)
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Sleepiness, Driving, Nap break, Active rest break, Hazard perception
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology Psychopharmacology Physiological Psychology) (170101)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2014 00:34
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2017 23:57

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