On average, I get around 5 or 6 hours sleep a night when on a run of shifts. That’s a combination of being late off every day, driving home and to work in traffic, having shifts that are only scheduled 12hours apart anyway, and not being able to “switch off”.
5 or 6 hours sleep. Doesn’t sound like much does it? When you consider that we give Class A drugs, we have to put needles in arms and possibly emergency surgery at the roadside, would you want me doing all that on 5 hours sleep?
I would be lying if I said it didn’t affect me. I nod off occasionally. It’s nothing personal, we’re just exhausted. If you’re not unwell, and I’m not having to “think”, our bodies go into a mode similar to “power save” on your mobile. We cut all the non-essential and manage to breathe and talk only. Occasionally drive and breathe if we need to.
5 or 6 hours sleep. It’s simply not enough. We don’t think we’re safe on that, and we should know.