Articles Tagged with sleep deprived and driving

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The results of a new study show that more  Americans are working and driving on very little sleep. Sleep deprivation is a major cause of drowsy driving -related car accidents which kills thousands of Americans every year. These auto accidents also often result in catastrophic personal injuries.

According to the Gallup poll,  Americans are getting even less sleep than they used to.  More Americans report getting less sleep than they need or would like compared to a decade earlier.  In 2013, for example, a similar poll found that 56% of Americans believed they had gotten the amount of sleep they needed, while that number dropped to just 42% in this new poll. In 2013, 43% of Americans believed that they did not get enough sleep, and that number ballooned to more than half of all Americans in the new poll.

Sleep experts recommend at least 8 hours of sleep for the average adult, but more than a quarter of Americans are barely getting that.  What’s more alarming is that more than 50% of Americans say that they survive on just 6 to 7 hours of sleep every day, while 20% get less than 5 hours of sleep, which is truly worrying. Getting 5 hours of sleep or surviving on that low amount of sleep was not even heard of back in the 1940s. Women below 50 seem to be more sleep-deprived, with only 36% admitting to getting enough sleep.  In  contrast, 48% of men believed that they are getting enough sleep.

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Too  little sleep could increase a person’s risk of suffering not just auto accident – related personal injuries, but also personal injuries from slip and fall accidents  as well as personal injuries during sports.

In a new study, researchers focused on 3 different types of personal injuries, including injuries caused in sports, during slip and fall accidents as well as injuries caused when a person is involved in an auto accident, and their link to sleep deprivation.  They found that  lack of sufficient sleep affected the  risk of preventable personal injuries.

The researchers looked at three different categories of sleep – very little sleep which is sleep below 4 hours in duration,  short sleep which is sleep of between 5 and 6 hours in duration,  healthy  sleep which is  sleep of between 7 and 8 hours and long sleep which is sleep of greater than 9 hours. They also divided sleep quality into three categories, including the ability to fall and stay asleep, feel refreshed and rested while waking up, and medication use.

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Sedentary lifestyles and bad eating habits are placing millions of Americans at risk of  poor sleep patterns,  increasing their chances of being involved in an  auto accident.

This  March, the National Sleep Foundation will mark Sleep Awareness Week.  The  special week will be commemorated   between March 12 and March 18.   The National Sleep Foundation wants Americans to understand that when they sleep less than the recommended number of hours a night, they place themselves at risk of tiredness and fatigue that increases their chances  of being involved in an auto accident while driving. In 2022,  the  National Sleep Foundation underscored the car accident risks that come with being in a state of sleep deprivation by partnering with the Drowsy Driving Prevention Project and the National Safety Council.

Last year, the National Sleep Foundation commissioned a poll that threw up interesting insights about the sleep patterns of Americans. The poll found that far too many Americans are not getting enough light exposure in the daytime.  Exposure  to light in the daytime can keep you awake while exposure to dim lighting in the evening can help you sleep.  When  people have very little light exposure in the daytime,  it can affect their ability  to sleep well at night.   Much of the night time light exposure for Americans is presently coming from smartphones.  For most  Americans, bedtime is preceded by at least an hour of scrolling through their smartphones.  The  blue light that is emitted from these screens actually inhibits your ability to sleep well.  When you spend far too much time staring at your cell phone before going to sleep, it makes it that much harder for you to sleep.  The result is fewer hours of sleep than you require,  and consequently, a state of fatigue and drowsiness.   The poll also found that many Americans follow irregular eating patterns, and these too can affect a person’s ability to fall asleep quickly.

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