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Old 18-11-2023, 02:40   #1
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The Importance of ‘Good’ Sleep

The Importance of ‘Good’ Sleep

Back in 2005, Canadians averaged about eight hours of sleep a night. By 2013, that dropped to seven. Now, about 40 per cent of Canadians are dealing with some kind of sleep disorder.

Something about sleep keeps our bodies and minds from falling apart. The lack of it has been linked to obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and depression. Researchers are now discovering some fascinating things about how important sleep is to the way our brains store memories, and learn things.

A growing body of research points to clear links, between the quality of your sleep and memory formation [1], including a new paper [2] which found just a one per cent reduction in deep sleep, each year, in individuals aged 60 and up, was associated with a significantly higher risk of developing dementia.

Another study [3], involving American nurses, found people who both under- or overslept — either five hours or less a night, or nine hours or more — showed worse performance on cognitive tests. The researchers estimated those groups were mentally two years older, than their counterparts getting seven or eight hours of sleep each night.

Some research [4] even suggests sleep deprivation mimics the feeling of being drunk, with one Australian research team likening a single day of sleep deprivation, with the mental impairment of a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10 per cent.

Solo sailors take note.

[1] “Sleep loss and temporal memory” ~ by Y Harrison & J A Horne
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10718074/

[2] “Association Between Slow-Wave Sleep Loss and Incident Dementia” ~ by Jayandra J. Himali, PhD, et al
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jam...stract/2810957

[3] “Sleep Duration in Midlife and Later Life in Relation to Cognition” ~ by
Elizabeth E. Devore ScD, et al
https://agsjournals.onlinelibrary.wi...1111/jgs.12790

[4] “Fatigue, alcohol and performance impairment” ~ by Drew Dawson & Kathryn Reid
https://www.nature.com/articles/40775
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Old 18-11-2023, 03:51   #2
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Re: The Importance of ‘Good’ Sleep

I have chosen a style of sailing life that avoids long periods of sleep deprivation created by extended days at sea with short periods of sleep and brief handovers with a partner you may hardly communicate with for days.
I know this is virtually unavoidable in crossing oceans as a couple and of course far worse as a solo sailer.
I understand others love of these long days and nights at sea but it’s just not for me having tried it several times when much younger.
I love my sleep and have chosen cruising inshore and inland waters on a day at a time sailing basis tucked up on anchor virtually every night.
It also allows you to avoid big storms at sea in the vast majority of occasions.
Of course in most areas this would normally constrain you to one or two cruising grounds but having a trailerable cruising yacht just constrains me to cruising one continent.
As my yacht can actually fit in a 40ft shipping container I have even done the sums on transporting it between continents that way but have so much to explore here in Australia I may become too old before running out of new places here.
Of course the range of unusual cruising options is much wider with an exceedingly shallow draft, onwater single person mast lowering system for dipping bridges and powerlines and of course the ability to access inland dams, rivers and lakes only able to be reached by road.
Just a thought for others like me who need/like their regular good nights of long uninterrupted sleep.
Finding a new partner later in life to join me on my sailing adventures was also assisted by this style of cruising I feel.
Even in conventional cruising areas it opens up possibilities outside the reach of most conventional yachts.
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Old 18-11-2023, 04:41   #3
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Re: The Importance of ‘Good’ Sleep

One thing here on the East Coast of North America we are blessed with wonderful cruising grounds that allow you to do day hops from northern Canada all the way to the Bahamas with no overnighters required. Thousands of miles of cruising, and highly varied too. But, OTOH there are also plenty of places to try offshore sailing with one or two overnights on passage, though my wife and I always say that it takes about three days and nights before we get into the offshore rhythm. Instead of a rigid watch schedule, we find it best to go with the flow of how each of us best navigates sleep. For example, I can almost always put my head down and nap, but my wife can't. She needs longer stretches of rest at night. So, I try to do long night watches and catch up on my sleep at odd times during the day.
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Old 18-11-2023, 04:42   #4
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Re: The Importance of ‘Good’ Sleep

This is a very on-topic topic.

Sleep deprivation on boats is a real thing. Even at anchor you can get bad sleep when an intense storm hits at night. Then there are the grueling passages.

As a solo sailor currently, I’m trying to work out how I’ll be able to handle sleeping on longer passages.
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Old 18-11-2023, 05:47   #5
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Re: The Importance of ‘Good’ Sleep

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Originally Posted by Chotu View Post
As a solo sailor currently, I’m trying to work out how I’ll be able to handle sleeping on longer passages.
Ocean passages I actually sleep more than moored usually. Coastal is horrible but away from everything lack of sleep has never been a problem. Even when the alarm (usually 2h stints) goes off the checksheet can be gone through while still mostly asleep, if something needs sorting then coffee first but usually back to the bunk without really waking up. Only with ais & radar alarms though.
Opencpn watchdog handy as well for offcourse and wind alarms.
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Old 28-02-2024, 11:52   #6
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Re: The Importance of ‘Good’ Sleep

The downside of offshore sailing is the potential for sleep deprivation which materially effects decision-making. Some people are fine with a 4 hour watch system for two people for 2-3 days offshore. However, long offshore sails do take their toll and the potential for errors increases with time. This is especially relevant if only one person knows navigation and the other doesn't when taking hourly fixes. Night watches become more problematic and the potential for errors increase. I sailed once with two "novice" sailors offshore from Northern Lake Michigan to the Detroit River entrance on Lower Lake Huron two days offshore in early Spring with night temperatures in the 30's-40's. I took the 2400-0400 shift and wondering why I didn't hear the alarm at 0400, I went below and saw the alarm clock in the mates bunk under the sleeping bag. He had turned it off. He told me he just couldn't get up because it was so cold. We dumped him in Detroit and have never spoken again. Rognvald
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Old 28-02-2024, 14:07   #7
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Re: The Importance of ‘Good’ Sleep

Quote:
The downside of offshore sailing is the potential for sleep deprivation which materially effects decision-making. Some people are fine with a 4 hour watch system for two people for 2-3 days offshore. However, long offshore sails do take their toll and the potential for errors increases with time.
I think it is important to find a watch system that works for you and your crew. Don't just choose an arbitrary system like 4 on and 4 off and think you will get used to it. I outlined what we do above. It is also important for couples to not just head offshore expecting to work it out. Try a few shorter passages of one or two overnighters to see how things go. One important thing we learned is to never push ahead through a difficult stretch when feeling exhausted. It is always worthwhile to wait for dawn to make a harbor entrance, after having a few cups of coffee and breakfast.
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Old 28-02-2024, 14:14   #8
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Re: The Importance of ‘Good’ Sleep

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics...ep-deprivation

Sleeping in 2 hour stretches impairs performance after 2 days.
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Old 28-02-2024, 14:41   #9
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Re: The Importance of ‘Good’ Sleep

We tried several different schedules until we just went back to what we did at home. My wife is an insomniac and I’m not. We both nap during the day. Normally I take the first shift until about 9pm ish. Then she takes over for 6 ish hours. By 3am she is finally ready to sleep she gets me up and we start over. When it is just the two of us we do not use our cabins, but instead we sleep in the Saloon so the person on can just grab the other easily. We normally arrive not wiped out. Our longest passage to date is 5 days with lots of 1 and 2 day passages. This year going home from the Bahamas we are not going to do any overnights and instead take our time with day hops.

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Old 28-02-2024, 14:53   #10
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Re: The Importance of ‘Good’ Sleep

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
I think it is important to find a watch system that works for you and your crew. Don't just choose an arbitrary system like 4 on and 4 off and think you will get used to it. I outlined what we do above. It is also important for couples to not just head offshore expecting to work it out. Try a few shorter passages of one or two overnighters to see how things go. One important thing we learned is to never push ahead through a difficult stretch when feeling exhausted. It is always worthwhile to wait for dawn to make a harbor entrance, after having a few cups of coffee and breakfast.
Yes, good advice, Kettlewell!
However, my wife and I have been sailing offshore since '95 and have a good watch system. And, if one of us needs a little extra sleep and the other is fine at the wheel, we'll fudge on the schedule. The problem here was with the fool in the bunk. We are recreational sailors and realize the implications of not having 40 guns and a cadre of sailors. And, again, your advice is good for those heading offshore for the first time. "Pushing" schedules is a prescription for disaster. We supposed to have fun . . . right?
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Old 07-03-2024, 12:08   #11
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Re: The Importance of ‘Good’ Sleep

Required of all vessels operating in Canadian waters.
https://tc.canada.ca/en/marine-trans...gue-sea-canada


https://www.ccohs.ca/products/courses/fatigue-sea


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772195/
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Old 07-03-2024, 13:15   #12
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Re: The Importance of ‘Good’ Sleep

Hi, Deblen,
Is this also required for recreational sailors since the information seems to be directed at the commercial industry? The problem with all of these regulations is in the enforcement. When we sailed the St. Lawrence from the Lake Michigan to the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2018, we were required to have all the Canadian paper, tide, and current charts. Customs never checked us for these before entering the locks to Lake Ontario. However, those tide and current charts were indispensable for safe navigation since it was a real chess game timing tides and currents to move towards sea. It was especially tricky after Quebec City on the Southern passage. By the way, we were treated with great hospitality and help in Quebec by local sailors. Kudos to all the great people we met during our transit.
Best, Rognvald
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Old 07-03-2024, 13:57   #13
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Re: The Importance of ‘Good’ Sleep

I recently spoke with a lady that singlehanded her boat from Belgium to the USA.

She said her method was to set an alarm for 2 hours, check things above, then sleep another 2 hours and repeat.

She did the same coming North in the Gulf Stream from Florida to Norfolk again singlehanded.

She only has crew when sailing near shore for long periods.
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Old 07-03-2024, 15:59   #14
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Re: The Importance of ‘Good’ Sleep

Quote:
Originally Posted by rognvald View Post
Hi, Deblen,
Is this also required for recreational sailors since the information seems to be directed at the commercial industry? The problem with all of these regulations is in the enforcement. When we sailed the St. Lawrence from the Lake Michigan to the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2018, we were required to have all the Canadian paper, tide, and current charts. Customs never checked us for these before entering the locks to Lake Ontario. However, those tide and current charts were indispensable for safe navigation since it was a real chess game timing tides and currents to move towards sea. It was especially tricky after Quebec City on the Southern passage. By the way, we were treated with great hospitality and help in Quebec by local sailors. Kudos to all the great people we met during our transit.
Best, Rognvald
The Marine Personnel Regs don't apply to pleasure vessels in Canada.
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Old 07-03-2024, 19:37   #15
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Re: The Importance of ‘Good’ Sleep

Quote:
Originally Posted by rognvald View Post
Hi, Deblen,
Is this also required for recreational sailors since the information seems to be directed at the commercial industry? The problem with all of these regulations is in the enforcement. When we sailed the St. Lawrence from the Lake Michigan to the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2018, we were required to have all the Canadian paper, tide, and current charts. Customs never checked us for these before entering the locks to Lake Ontario. However, those tide and current charts were indispensable for safe navigation since it was a real chess game timing tides and currents to move towards sea. It was especially tricky after Quebec City on the Southern passage. By the way, we were treated with great hospitality and help in Quebec by local sailors. Kudos to all the great people we met during our transit.
Best, Rognvald

I don't know if this applies to to recreational vessels. Probably,like many COLREGS,it only applies if you get in an accident,or cause injury
I came across the $20 "fatigue" course being advertised while browsing.
Anyone can take it,according to the second link.
Glad you enjoyed your trip. Tide tables are a necessity in many Cdn east coast places. 20 + ft tidal rise/fall in 6hrs create 3+ kts of current,which greatly affect a sailboat especially.
Cheers/Len
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