Sleep and Accidents

It’s important to get enough sleep for a variety of reasons, including your physical and mental health. People generallyBlogImage_Accidents require seven to eight hours of sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. That allows the mind to relax and the body to reset itself each day. It also helps people better control their blood sugar levels, and improves their mood.

In today’s busy lifestyle that can be challenging. People rush out the door in the early morning and return home late at night. Work and other activities get in the way of a healthy night’s sleep. People are often living on four or five hours of sleep per night for prolong periods of time.

Often, however, a lack of sleep is part of a disorder and not a lifestyle choice. People toss and turn at night and can’t get a solid night’s sleep. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. It affects 6 to 10% of adults and can be characterized as being chronic or acute. Symptoms include fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating and mood disturbances.

Over time, insomnia and other sleep disorders stress the body. A lack of focus during the day is often the most reported impact of insomnia. A person cannot concentrate on a specific task or has trouble sitting through a meeting at work. He or she might forget something that was said to them or has problems solving a simple problem.

In particular, researchers found that episodic memory was significantly impacted by insomnia. That means people don’t remember a series of events, like when and where something happened. This can be a problem, because episodic memory plays a key role in defining who people are and how they function in the world.

There are also potentially life-threatening impacts from insomnia and a lack of sleep. A recent study by the European Sleep Research Society was conducted on 5,293 subjects with insomnia, and it discovered a correlation between insomnia and accidents. It found that 9% fell asleep while driving and 4.1% of people who reported having episodes of insomnia were in a car accident over the last year. Car accidents were reported more frequently by men than women and usually occurred in people who were employed.

Besides accidents behind the wheel, accidents at home were reported. In the study, 20.9% of participants reported an accident at home, and 10.1% reported that an accident took place at work. The study was not clear on what type of accidents occurred, but they must have been dangerous enough for them to be reported by the participants.

Another study published in journal Sleep studied 54,399 men and women between the ages 20-89. Research was collected over a 14-year period, and the study reported 57 fatal motor vehicle accidents and 277 fatal injuries among people who participated in the study.  They found that insomnia was a significant factor in the accidents, and reported that 34% of the accidents could have been prevented if the person had gotten enough sleep.

Insomnia is also associated with a variety of health problems. Long-term insomnia has been associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and neurological problems. In a recent study, 44 patients with kidney disease were studied. It found that 53% had insomnia and most reported some challenges sleeping. The researchers said the medical community has understood a relationship exists between kidney disease and insomnia, but it’s unclear of the cause. The research clearly shows that the two are linked together and further study was needed. That cannot be good for the health of a patient who is facing a chronic disease like kidney failure.



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