Researchers using new way to study sleep quality, quantity for ag producers
Nebraska researchers are investigating the quantity and quality of sleep among Midwestern farmers and ranchers during peak seasons.
Susan Harris is an extension educator with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “They all know they need sleep or many of them know they don’t get quantity and quality of sleep and yet their work comes first so how do we mix both of those together for the best outcomes possible.”
Harris says the one-of-a-kind project won’t allow producers to self-report data like other industry-related studies because it requires a person to wear a watch.
Participants include 41 Midwestern agricultural workers, male and female. Each will wear an Actiwatch Spectrum Plus — a wrist device that monitors and records continuous data on daily motion and activity levels — for one week during peak activity, such as harvest season, and then again during a slower week.
She tells Brownfield the results will determine the need and value of educational interventions to improve sleep.“They just work, and they go, and they go and they go,” Harris says. “They really are subject to more accidents and illnesses and increased risks for all of these health issues going on because they just simply don’t sleep enough. They put the work first.”
She expects results mid-spring.
Susan Harris, extension educator with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln: