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The editors at Health Science Degrees decided to research the topic of:
The Waking Dead: Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation plays a major role in a variety of conditions and illnesses, including decreased performance and alertness, memory and cognitive impairment, increased stress, poor quality of life, increased food consumption and appetite, on-the-job injuries and automobile accidents.
- Reducing sleep by 90 minutes for just one night can reduce daytime alertness by up to 32%.
- Untreated sleep disorders can have long-term effects on a person's health including high blood pressure, heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, obesity, psychiatric disorders, attention deficit disorder, mental impairment, and fetal and childhood growth retardation.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities each year.
- In 2009-2010, in a study of 150,000 adults at or over age 18 in 19 states and the District of Columbia, 4.2% said they'd fallen asleep while driving at least once in the last 30 days. People who snored or slept 6 or fewer hours per night were most likely to fall asleep while driving.
- Mortality risk is increased for people getting less than six or seven hours of sleep per night. Severe insomnia triples the mortality risk in elderly men.
- More than 85 sleep disorders are recognized by the American Sleep Disorders Association, more than 70 million Americans are affected by these sleep disorders, and as many as one-third of Americans exhibit some symptoms of insomnia.
- One cause of sleep disorders is sleep apnea. More than 20 million Americans, 24% of adult men and 9% of adult women, have some degree of obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep recommendations for different age groups
- Newborns: 16-18 hours/day
- Pre-schoolers: 11-12 hours/day
- School-aged children: At least 10 hours/day
- Teens: 9-10 hours/day
- Adults (including the elderly): 7-8 hours/day
- Percent of adults getting an average of 6 hours or less sleep per night: 29%
- Percent of high school students getting an average of 8 hours or less of sleep each night: 31%
- Estimated cost to U.S. employers in lost productivity caused by sleep loss: $18 billion
- In 2011, 10% of those surveyed, on average, reported that phone calls, text messages or emails on their cell phones woke them up after trying to go to sleep at least a few nights a week. Twenty percent of Gen Yers (ages 19-29) said this happens at least a few nights a week; 18% of Gen Zers (ages 13-18) reports this happens at least a few nights a week.
- Cognitive impairment, similar to someone with blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%, occurs after a person has been awake for 18 hours. After 24 hours of being awake, cognitive impairment is similar to someone with a BAC of 0.10%, higher than the legal limit in all states.
- Drowsy driving can be fatal. Sleeping while sleep deprived makes drivers less attentive, it slows reaction time and it affects a driver's ability to make decisions. Commercial drivers, shift workers, drivers with untreated sleep disorders, drivers on sedating medications and drivers without sufficient sleep are most suspectible.
- WebMD reports that the biggest danger of sleepiness is reduced reaction time. Teenagers, young adults, particularly young men, are at the greatest risk for fatigue-related auto accidents.
- Lack of sufficient sleep can cause irritability, increase in anger and may reduce the ability to cope appropriately with stress.
- Chronic sleepiness puts people at a greater risk for depression. In a 2005 study, people with insomnia were found to be 10 times as likely to develop depression and 17 times as likely to have significant anxiety