Sleep is a significant health concern and just as important as nutrition, exercise and stress management.
Sleep is essential to your health and happiness. While we sleep at night, we heal and recuperate from the wear and tear of our day. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort!
Clinical studies have shown that sleep deprivation can be a contributing factor to a number of illnesses – among them obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Sleeplessness can lead to imbalances in the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol. Potential consequences are weakening of the immune system, risk of a variety of chronic illnesses as well as psychological effects, such as memory loss, mood swings and depression. Sleep deprivation may also have a significant impact on one’s life expectancy.
Sleep deprivation and other sleep disorders can have a serious effect on health. Inadequate rest impairs a person’s ability to think, handle stress, maintain a healthy immune system and control emotions. Sleep disorder effects include mental and physical impairment.
Driver Fatigue and Sleep Deprivation
Driver fatigue contributes to at least 56,000 car accidents annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (n.d.) Drowsy driving is one of the most common effects of sleep disorders and sleep deprivation, and potentially one of the most dangerous.
The National Sleep Foundation says that if you:
Have trouble keeping your eyes focused
Can’t stop yawning
Can’t remember driving the last few miles
Then you are probably too drowsy to drive safely.
Caffeine and other stimulants cannot overcome the effects of severe sleep deprivation.
"If you take all the people that die on the highway from falling asleep at the wheel in a week, and you add them up, that's the equivalent of a major fully loaded airplane crashing every day."
-- Professor Max Hirshkowitz, Clinical Director of Kingwood Sleep Lab