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Why Night Shift Work can Increase Car Accident Risks

Sleep experts have always known that night shift workers are at a higher risk of being involved in a car accident.  A new study finds even more conclusive proof that night shift workers are at risk of a number of sleep disorders that can increase their risks of being involved in a car crash.

The study was conducted in the Netherlands where Dutch researchers found that out of all the patients involved in the study, more than 51% suffered from at least one sleep disorder. The researchers focused on more than 37,000 workers who were questioned about their work patterns and sleeping habits.  The researchers screened participants for 6 common sleep disorders including insomnia, hypersomnia or excessive sleeping, sleep apnea and other sleep – related breathing disorders, sleep walking, sleep – related movement disorders and sleep – wake disturbances. They found that 51% or at least one third of the participants suffered from at least one sleep disorder and 13% of all participants suffered from at least two of the sleep disorders for which they were screened.

Among  those who did night shifts, whether regular night shifts or rotational night shifts, 26% reported at least two or more sleep disorders. Consistent and regular night shifts seemed to be the most dangerous for workers with many of these workers reporting lower than optimum hours of sleep.  About 50 percent  of the workers who were on night shifts reported that they often slept for less than 6 hours a day.  The  ideal sleep duration for an adult is 8 hours everyday.

What is worrisome is that it is difficult to completely overcome the consequences of working regular night shifts.  Consistent night shifts can disturb sleep – wake patterns to the extent that the person may find it difficult to  get sufficient sleep even when he is off shift.

While there are any number of health consequences to getting irregular or insufficient amounts of sleep, the impact on a person’s driving may be one of the most serious.  Night shift workers may be at a higher risk of drowsy or fatigued driving that places them at a high risk of  causing or being involved in a car accident. Make the most of whatever sleep you get by sticking to a specified bedtime and sleeping in a cool, dark and quiet room.  Light exposure including the light emitted from your cell phone screen  can make it hard for you to go to sleep after your shift, and therefore, experts recommend that you avoid cell phone usage and  go to bed immediately after your shift.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Katz Personal Injury  Lawyers are dedicated to the representation of persons who have suffered injuries in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across the state of Georgia.  If  you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident, talk to a lawyer at our firm and discuss your  legal options for a claim  for damages. You may qualify for compensation that includes medical expenses, lost income and other forms of damages.  Talk  to a  lawyer at our   firm and discuss your case.  Initial  consultations are free.


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