The Sleeplessness Epidemic

I’ve had so much on my plate lately that I haven’t enjoyed a full night’s sleep in weeks.  I actually wake up in the morning tired.  No, it’s not the party lifestyle that is depriving me of sleep, it’s the boring I-can’t-juggle-my-responsibilities-while-still-indulging-in-my-lame-hobbies lifestyle that I’m referring to.  Either way, I’m sure you’ve been there.  Well, recent studies show that a little sleep deprivation isn’t as innocent as I thought it was.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S., lack of sleep is increasingly being recognized as a public health issue.  More and more, public health officials are concerned with the health impact of sleep quality and duration on a number of diseases including diabetes, depression and obesity as well as cancer, mortality rates and quality of life/productivity. Moreover, sleeplessness is linked to motor vehicle accidents, industrial disasters and occupational errors.  Wait…rewind a bit.  Sleeplessness is linked to cancer?

Data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey show that among nearly 75,000 adult respondents in 12 U.S. states, over a third get less than 7 hours of sleep per day, nearly half snore and nearly two-fifths reported falling asleep unintentionally at least once in the previous month. Even worse, 5 percent of respondents stated that they’ve fallen asleep while driving at least once in the preceding month.  Hmm, sound like a TTC driver to you too?  Yup, thought so.  It is estimated that 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 injuries per year are attributable to driving while tired in the United States alone.  Below, I’ve included a table that depicts selected sleep behaviours of the respondents, by age, race and sex.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily.

So what should you learn from all this?  I think the lesson to take away here is that it’s better to call in sick to sleep in than to go to work sleep deprived.

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2 Comments on “The Sleeplessness Epidemic”

  1. […] research conducted on expressive writing shows that it also improves memory and sleep (although Sandra might disagree), boosts immune cell activity, reduces viral load in AIDS patients and speeds healing after […]

  2. Justine Angus says:

    intereting topic…yesterday the news reported on an air traffic controller who fell asleep while on duty at the Reagan airport in DC. Two planes were attempting to land at the time. Fortunately they did without incident and the controller was suspended. Pretty scary stuff…


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