More Facts About Less Sleep

More Facts About Less Sleep

Information from the National Commission on Sleep
Disorders Research: Wake Up, America: A National Sleep Alert

The Importance:

  • Sleep is an essential biological need and is necessary in order to maintain good physical and mental health.

A Widespread Epidemic:

  • A range of sleep disorders and disturbances affects as many as one-third of all American adults.
  • A substantial number of Americans, perhaps the majority are functionally handicapped by sleep deprivation on any given day. Most Americans consider the impaired judgment that accompanies sleepiness a normal and unavoidable part of everyday life.

An Increasingly Precious Commodity:

  • Over the past century we have reduced our nightly sleep time by 20%

A Compounding Problem:

  • Sleep loss accumulates from one night to the next as a “sleep debt.” A modest loss on a single night may produce a serious sleep debt when sustained over several nights.

The Dangers:

  • Because individuals often do not recognize they are sleepy, they seldom guard against inappropriate sleep episodes, such as falling asleep at the wheel or at work.

The Social Costs:

  • The costs of sleepy society include lost lives, lost income, disability, lost educational opportunities, accidents and family dysfunction. The effects on quality of life for millions of individuals and families are incalculable.

The Fiscal Costs:

  • The Commission estimates that in 1990 sleep disorders and sleepiness cost the United States a minimum of $15.9 billion in direct costs alone.

An Overlooked Health Issue:

  • Despite their pervasiveness and impact on our society, sleep-related problems are not recognized as a public health issue.
  • When sleepiness is acknowledged, it is often mistakenly attributed to boredom, an overly warm environment or a heavy meal; rarely is drowsiness linked to its true cause – the quantity and quality of prior sleep.

A Preventable Problem:

  • The consequences of sleep disorders and sleep deprivation, particularly errors and accidents, must be regarded as preventable.

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