Mental fatigue may impair decision-making, task performance and response to changes in the environment.


Mental fatigue has been well-studied in truck and taxi drivers and air traffic controllers.


Risk factors:

(1) long work hours without break

(2) monotonous work and/or boredom

(3) comorbid conditions (see below)


Comorbid conditions:

(1) insufficient sleep (sleep apnea, other)

(2) changing shifts

(3) physical illness

(4) depression

(5) attention-deficit disorder

(6) other forms of fatigue

(7) medications that interfere with mental alertness


A person with mental fatigue may not be aware of how impaired his/her performance is until a problem occurs. The degree of impairment may compare to levels seen with alcohol intoxication.


Research has been done on the use of EEGs to monitor people for signs of fatigue so that a countermeasure may be taken before a problem arises.


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