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Sleep Deprivation Leads to Catastrophe

Lack of sleep and Industrial Accidents

Sleepiness can make you less effective at work. But unfortunately, it can also make you very unsafe. Sleepiness can cloud your thinking and cause you to make more errors, react slower, and use poorer judgment than you do when you’re alert.

One of the most dangerous aspects of sleepiness is that people often misjudge their own state of mind and abilities, believing that they are able to handle important decisions and tasks, when in fact they are not.

Many large studies have found a relationship between sleepiness and work-related injuries. Highly sleepy workers are 70 percent more likely to be involved in accidents than non-sleepy workers, and workers with chronic insomnia (difficulty getting to or staying asleep) are far more likely than well-rested individuals to report industrial accidents or injuries. People with excessive sleepiness who also snore (a potential sign of sleep apnea) are twice as likely to be involved in workplace accidents. And tragically, in one Swedish study of nearly 50,000 people, those with sleep problems were nearly twice as likely to die in a work-related accident.

Restricted Sleep behind the Cataclysm

Sleepiness is also thought to have played a role in some of the most devastating environmental health disasters in history. In the case of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant incident, which occurred at 4:00 a.m., overnight shift workers failed to respond quickly and appropriately to a mechanical problem that caused a near meltdown; sleepiness is thought to be partly to blame.

The nuclear plant disaster at Chernobyl, which took place at 1:30 a.m., is also linked to human error influenced by sleepiness. Sleep loss is thought to have played a role in the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill, and the Space Shuttle Challenger accident (where managers at the flight center were known to be working irregular hours on very little sleep). These and other accidents, both small and large scale, highlight the potentially devastating consequences of lapses in judgment and accuracy that result from sleepiness.

Drowsiness on the Road

Many of us think we can keep our minds alert, even when we’re feeling the tug of sleepiness on our brain and bodies. But the truth is that sleep is a powerful biological drive—one that can overtake even the best driver. Rolling down the windows and turning up the radio volume—these tricks don’t work. It’s important to know what to look for and how to handle drowsiness to protect the safety of everyone on the road.

It’s not always easy to tell when you’re too tired to drive. Here are some signs that it’s time to pull over:

* Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids

* Daydreaming; wandering/disconnected thoughts

* Trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs

* Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes

* Trouble keeping your head up

* Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip

* Feeling restless and irritable

Well before a person actually falls asleep while driving, lapses in attention and slowed reaction times make drowsy driving very dangerous. Driving is a complex activity that involves many small but important split decisions with every passing second. Even if you’re awake, your brain is not functioning optimally to handle these decisions. Studies show that excessive sleepiness decreases our judgment and increases risk taking.

The best way to make sure your mind and body are in optimal driving shape is to plan ahead and get 7-8 hours of sleep before your drive. Other methods include:

* The pre-drive nap: taking a short nap before a road trip can help make up for a short night’s sleep.

* The mid-drive nap: if you find yourself drowsy while driving, pull over to take a short nap of 20 minutes. Make sure you are in a safe location and remember you’ll be groggy for 15 minutes or so after waking up. Take a brisk walk and/or have some caffeine.

* The Buddy system: It’s safest to drive with a partner on long trips. Pull over every two hours and switch drivers, while the other takes a nap if possible.

* Don’t rush. Better to arrive at your destination safe than on time.

* Do not drink alcohol. Even very small amounts of alcohol will enhance drowsiness.

* Don’t drive between midnight and 6 a.m. Because of your body’s biological rhythm, this is a time when sleepiness is most intense.

* Drink caffeine: caffeine improves alertness, although be aware that the effects of caffeine will wear off after several hours.

Your Mattress and Solutions for Poor Sleep

Many Americans are unaware of the significance of choosing the right mattress for optimal sleep quality. The importance of selecting a proper mattress that fits your specific physiological needs and allows you get true restorative sleep really should not be underestimated. There are several most often neglected features in a mattress (and the downfall of buying many lower end mattresses): breathability or temperature neutrality in the materials used to construct the mattress, technology-proven support for a balanced position of the body and spine, and the proper amount of space to sleep uninterrupted.

The surest way to eliminate any deficiencies in sleep would be to seek advice from a knowledgeable and experienced retailer.  Mattress Express can assist in finding the right bed to fit your needs. Whether you have back problems and can’t get comfortable at night or you’re being constantly woken up by uncomfortable heat, Mattress Express can assist in efficiently fitting your needs with the right mattress. Another common mistake is underestimating the value of a higher quality mattress. While a cheaper price may seem easier on your wallet, the consequences of sleep deprivation have a much higher price. Please go online and visit our website,, to get started on one of the most important investments you can make!

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