Sleep deficiency makes people less productive. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times helps you function well throughout the day. But, here’s a real wake-up call: sleeplessness and driving is a combination as serious as driving under the influence of alcohol. Yes, you read it right.
A recent study has shown that moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments equivalent to those of alcohol intoxication. After 17 to 19 hours without sleep, performance was equivalent or worse than that of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.05 percent.
Most people are aware of the dangers of drinking and driving but don’t realize that drowsy driving can be just as fatal. Like alcohol, sleep exhaustion slows reaction time, decreases awareness, impairs judgment and increases your risk of crashing.
After several nights of losing sleep your ability to function suffers as if you haven’t slept at all for a day or two.
Lack of sleep also may lead to micro-sleep. Micro-sleep refers to a temporary episode of sleep or drowsiness which may last for a fraction of a second or up to 30 seconds where an individual becomes unconscious.
You can’t control microsleep, and you might not be aware of it. Even if you’re not driving, microsleep can affect how you function. If you’re listening to a lecture, for example, you might miss some of the information or feel like you don’t understand the point. In reality, though, you may have slept through part of the lecture and not been aware of it.
Some people aren’t aware of the risks of sleep deficiency. In fact, they may not even realize that they’re sleep deficient. Even with limited or poor-quality sleep, they may still think that they can function well. And that’s a real problem.
For instance, it’s estimated that driver sleepiness is a factor in about 100,000 car accidents each year, resulting in about 1,500 deaths.
Sleep deficiency is not only harmful on a personal level, but it also can cause large-scale damage. For example, sleep deficiency has played a role in human errors linked to tragic accidents, such as nuclear reactor meltdowns, grounding of large ships, and aviation accidents.
Achieving healthy sleep habits is the key to prevent the next sleep exhaustion casualty.
Source: Moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments in cognitive and motor performance equivalent to legally prescribed levels of alcohol intoxication (study)