Title: Thermoregulatory changes at driver sleepiness

Authors: S. Quanten, E. De Valck, R. Cluydts, D. Berckmans

Addresses: Division Measure, Model and Manage Bio-responses (M3-BIORES), Catholic University of Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 30, B-3001 Heverlee, Belgium. ' Department of Cognitive and Physiological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium. ' Department of Cognitive and Physiological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium. ' Division Measure, Model and Manage Bio-responses (M3-BIORES), Catholic University of Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 30, B-3001 Heverlee, Belgium

Abstract: A functional link between thermoregulation and sleep onset has long been recognised and thoroughly reported. In this work, we present results of a study in which it is evaluated whether this typical functional link still holds in situations where sleepiness is present but subjects are struggling to stay awake (e.g. driver sleepiness) and hence sleep onset (Stage 1 NREM) is not reached. Eight men and six women aged between 20 and 35 years (M=27, SD=5.5) participated in the experimental phase which consisted of 42 driver simulator experiments. During simulator driving, Core Body Temperature, proximal and distal skin temperatures, environmental temperature, ECG and EEG are recorded. These experiments revealed that increasing peripheral heat loss is also present in situations of increasing sleepiness without eventually reaching NREM sleep. These results enhance the strong link between thermoregulatory changes and the onset of sleep.

Keywords: distal heat loss; distal-to-proximal gradient; driver sleepiness; driving simulator; thermoregulation; temperature regulation; driver fatigue; driver safety; vehicle design; simulation; driver drowsiness; sleep deprivation; thermal regulation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJVD.2006.010179

International Journal of Vehicle Design, 2006 Vol.42 No.1/2, pp.87 - 100

Published online: 08 Jul 2006 *

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