The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

1. Your Life May Depend On It:

If you’re like most people you probably think getting an hour or two less sleep here or there is no crisis. In your opinion it may be more beneficial to get more done during the day and possibly at night rather than sleeping eight hours. However, studies show that you may be putting your job, your life and others’ lives at risk.

Why? Sleep is a necessity that your body and mind demand. When you go without it, the sleep debt accumulates and it disrupts your waking life. You find yourself dozing in class, in meetings, at the movies, even at dinner. You may simply be too tired.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute advise that there are two periods when the body is most likely to feel sleepy:

  • Late at night, generally between midnight and 7 a.m.
  • Mid-afternoon when the body is digesting lunch, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

If people ignore the natural inclinations of their body during these times, there is a higher risk of falling asleep unintentionally at other times when it may be inappropriate or even dangerous.

2. Sleepers Against Drowsy Driving::

The most dangerous effects of these constant nap attacks can be seen in recent driving statistics. The National Sleep Foundation has released the results of a Sleep in America poll. According to the survey, nearly 1 in 5 drivers dozed off while driving in the past year. Here are some other disturbing findings:

  • 51% of adults confessed that they have driven while drowsy.
  • 24 % of drivers between the ages of 18-29 have fallen asleep at the wheel during the past year
  • Despite the stereotypes, older people fare better behind the wheel and are more alert. The study brought out that 15% of people 30-64 years of age are likely to nod off in traffic.
  • Car crashes that result from drowsy driving are more likely to result from a young driver behind the wheel.
  • 42% of adults become stressed when they are sleepy behind the wheel, while 32% are impatient and make reckless decisions.
  • Both younger people (22%) and adults (12%) hit the gas pedal when they are sleepy.

The NIH has some simple solutions for avoiding sleep-related accidents. The basic message: Plan ahead if you’re going to be in a car for more than an hour at a stretch.

  • Avoid driving during the “red eye hours” of midnight and 7 a.m.
  • Consider putting off your car trip until the morning and get a good night’s sleep in the meantime.
  • If you are traveling with other adults take turns at the wheel, often.
  • Take frequent rest stops, especially if you are driving alone.

3. Too Tired to Function:

Car accidents are not the only problem associated with dozing off. The costs of chronic sleepiness in your everyday life can mount as you:

  • Struggle to stay awake even when sitting quietly reading
  • Have difficulty concentrating at school, work or home
  • Perform poorly at work or school
  • Experience lapses in memory
  • Cannot control your emotional responses and become short-tempered, impulsive or irritable with others
  • Have slow responses or reactions

Being too tired is not a matter of being “lazy” but of not obeying your body and sleeping when you are supposed to. Problem sleepiness however, may have a medical cause. About one-third of all Americans have some type of sleep disorder. People who do not have one, or may not know they do, attribute feeling tired to heavy meals, boredom, high temperatures, or medication.

Sleep is a biological necessity, so turn off the computer and the T.V., put down the phone, pull of the road and get some shut-eye.


  • The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
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