It's common knowledge that the recommended amount of sleep adults need is seven to nine hours a night. However, more than a third of Americans fail to meet this recommendation. Sleep deprivation happens when individuals don't regularly meet the amount of sleep they need. Many factors can contribute to sleep deprivation, like insomnia, long work hours, school, and taking care of young children. Usually, sleep deprivation is related to a lack of good sleep habits, especially with the many responsibilities that compel individuals to stay awake. Most know the symptoms of sleep deprivation, like feeling tired, forgetfulness, lack of concentration, and lack of coordination. It's so widespread in our fast-paced society that we forget to consider the potential long-term health risks of sleep deprivation.
Increased Risk of Injury and Accidents
Around 100,000 deaths occur annually in the United States due to human error resulting from sleep-deprivation. Driving on little sleep has been compared to driving drunk. In fact, driving after not sleeping for eighteen hours straight is equal to driving with a blood-alcohol level of .05, compared to the .08 that signals someone is drunk. The increased risk of injury and accidents also results from low reaction time caused by sleep deprivation. Making quick choices becomes more difficult, and performance is greatly stunted. These are important factors when driving, operating machinery, or even performing physical activity. Without a full night's rest, an individual's potential in performing activities is reduced, and possible injuries become more likely to occur.