Due to the unpredictable nature of working time arrangements, on-call workers experience regular disruption to sleep, particularly if woken by calls. Sleep disruption can impact long term physical and mental health, next day performance, and importantly, performance immediately after waking. To reduce the impact of performance impairments upon waking (i.e., reducing sleep inertia), research has investigated strategies to promote alertness (e.g., bright light, caffeine, and exercise). This review puts forth on-call workers who are likely to return to sleep after a call, it is also important to consider the impact of these sleep inertia countermeasures on subsequent sleep. Future research should build on the preliminary evidence base for sleep inertia countermeasures by examining the impact on subsequent sleep. This research is key for both supporting alertness and performance during a call (“switching on”) and for allowing the on-call worker to return to sleep after a call (“switching off”).
- Emergency service
- Sleep inertia