In 1970 a young, surgical resident found himself working those 36-hour shifts that are so typical in the medical profession. Despite his motivation and desire to remain alert and vigilant during life-or-death situations, he found himself nodding-off in the operating room and writing prescriptions that made no sense the next day. Yet, despite mind-numbing bouts of fatigue, he experienced surges of energy and alertness at seemingly regular intervals. Thus was conceived a lifelong interest in human alertness in 24/7 operations by Martin Moore-Ede, M.D., Ph.D.
Rather than continuing medical practice, Dr. Moore-Ede decided to pursue graduate studies in physiology at Harvard Medical School. Upon being awarded his Ph.D., he was invited to join the Harvard faculty and build a research laboratory for Circadian Physiology (which later spun-off from Harvard Medical School to become the non-profit Institute for Circadian Physiology). Over the following years, Dr. Moore-Ede’s research team probed the mysteries of biological clocks, sleep, and alertness, and pioneered the development of practical solutions for those who must work around-the-clock.
A New Field of Science.
Dr. Moore-Ede’s first book, The Clocks that Time us: Physiology of the Circadian Timing System (Harvard University Press, 1982), laid out the basis of this new field of science. Extensive media attention led to consulting inquires and the development of “biocompatible” shift scheduling. Worker productivity and safety increased so dramatically with these revolutionary schedules that substantial improvements in corporate bottom-line performance were achieved.
CIRCADIAN® was born in 1983, and offered industry a vehicle to apply the new scientific developments coming out of sleep and circadian rhythm research. As the global 24/7 economy emerged, CIRCADIAN’s consultants worked with companies on six continents to help solve the human side of the equation, and minimize the workforce costs, health problems and errors. Dr. Moore-Ede’s told the story in his next book, The Twenty Four Hour Society: Understanding Human Limits in a World that Never Stops (Addison-Wesley, 1993) which was described as “a vitally important book that provides insights and advice that could well save many lives and billions of dollars!”
Thirty Years Later.
Today, CIRCADIAN, with offices in America, Europe, Asia and Australia, is the global leader in providing 24/7 workforce solutions including staffing level analyses, shift scheduling optimization, shiftwork lifestyle training, fatigue risk analyses, litigation services, and comprehensive fatigue risk management systems and software for 300 of the Fortune 500 companies. CIRCADIAN’s world-class team of research scientists, engineers, and consultants continue to work to expand the horizons of what is possible to achieve in 24/7 businesses within the limits of human physiology. The beneficiaries are the tens of millions of people who are required to work around-the-clock, as well as the companies who employ them to support our continuous global economy.