Sleep Facts - Sleep Deprivation
Sleep Deprivation

HOW MUCH SLEEP IS ENOUGH?

Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. People who are well rested feel alert and do not have the urge to nap. Insomnia affects more than 70 million Americans, or one in three people. Direct costs of insomnia, which include dollars spent on insomnia treatment, health care services, hospital and nursing home care, are estimated at nearly $14 billion annually. Indirect costs such as work loss, property damage from accidents, and transportation to and from health care providers are estimated to be $28 billion.

CAUSES SLEEP DEPRIVATION?
  • Not allowing enough time for sleep
  • Anything that causes insomnia or poor quality sleep
  • Sleep disorders
  • Excessive worry, depression
  • Repeated awakenings from noise
  • Working at night, travel across time zones
  • Medical illness causing pain, difficulty breathing, etc.
WHAT SLEEP DISORDERS CAUSE EXCESSIVE DAYTIME SLEEPINESS?

Obstructive sleep apnea: A very common disorder where there is obstruction of the nose and/or throat by enlarged tonsils, a deviated nasal septum etc. which results in pauses in breathing during sleep. Symptoms include snoring, morning headache and daytime fatigue. Obstructive sleep apnea can lead to heart failure and is a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

Nocturnal myoclonus: Jerking of legs during sleep which causes brief awakenings. This causes insomnia and daytime sleepiness.

Narcolepsy: A relatively rare sleep disorder of dream sleep. The main symptom is uncontrollable sleepiness during the day.

WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF SLEEP DEPRIVATION?
 a) Motor vehicle accidents and work accidents
b) Decreased productivity
If this becomes a chronic problem, sleep deprivation can cause difficulties with social relationships because of irritability; as well as some significant medical problems.
WHEN ARE ACCIDENTS RELATED TO SLEEP DEPRIVATION MOST LIKELY TO HAPPEN?
In the early to mid afternoon and in the very early morning hours. These are the times when everyone is least alert.
WHAT OTHER PROBLEMS CAUSE EXCESSIVE DAYTIME SLEEPINESS?
Medical illnesses: heart disease, breathing disorders and a variety of other problems can cause fatigue and sleepiness.
Mental illness: depression is an important cause of insomnia troubles during the day.
HOW CAN THESE ACCIDENTS BE AVOIDED?
Getting enough sleep at night or adding naps in the afternoon when needed can help prevent serious accidents due to sleepiness. If a person has signs of a sleep disorder or has their sleep disrupted by symptoms of a medical illness or depression, they should see their physician.