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Alaska Sleep Education Center

The Relationship Between Sleep and Industrial Accidents

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Oct 27, 2018 2:15:00 PM

The Relationship Between Sleep and Industrial Accidents - Excessive Sleepiness               

Sleepiness can make you less effective at work. But unfortunately, it can also make you very unsafe. Sleepiness clouds your thinking and causes 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.

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. 

Alaska Sleep Clinic is invested in the on-the-job safety of Alaskans.  ASC is excited about our recent connection with the Alaska Chapter of the American Society of Safety Professionals, bringing to the forefront the importance of well-rested employees being better for everyone.

 

Finally - Sleep Consultation

Alaska Sleep Clinic is pleased with recent recognition as:

-The 2018 Best Sleep Clinic in Alaska by CEO Magazine.

-A Finalist for 2018 Better Business Bureau (BBB) Business of the Year Torch Award.

-A 2018 Finalist for the Alaska Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year Award.

- Top 5 Sleep Education Websites in the World from FeedSpot.com.

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Topics: microsleep, work, accidents

The Comprehensive Guide to Sleep Deprivation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment: Chapter 9

Posted by Guest blogger: Joe Smith, www.YooHealth.com on Oct 20, 2018 6:15:00 PM

Chapter 9

Complications of Sleep Deprivation

There are a number of complications and concerns that come with sleep deprivation. For one, it weakens your ability to handle reasoning, as that area of the brain is affected by lack of sleep. This part of the brain is known as the prefrontal cortex, and it is used to control the emotional section (the amygdala). As a result, sleep deprivation leads to emotions being processed in an abnormal manner.

It is also necessary to get enough sleep in order for the brain to learn. A lack of sleep causes difficulty in concentration as well as the ability to create new memories. If we stay awake all night or cut our sleep short by a significant amount, the body will not release the necessary hormones to regulate growth and appetite. Instead, it ends up with a cornucopia of stress chemicals, like cortisol.

In fact, research suggests that a shorter sleep duration can actually cause weight gain in both adults and children, with each hour of reduction in sleep time per day being associated with an increase of 0.35kg in body weight. These changes can then result in an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart attacks, and even strokes.

A lack of sleep can also have a massive impact on a healthy person’s ability to function emotionally and think normally, which can result in the following:

  • A reduced tendency to think positively
  • Poor moods and a decreased willingness to solve issues
  • Greater tendency towards superstition and magical belief
  • Decreased empathy and an increased intolerance for others
  • Poor impulse control
  • Inability to delay gratification

Those who are experiencing a loss of sleep are more likely to have increased feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy. They are also more prone to feel powerless, like a failure, have low self-esteem, poor job performance, conflicts with co-workers, and an overall reduced quality of life. Many of these feelings remain even when stimulants are introduced to boost energy, like caffeine. Those who are sleep deprived are also more likely to score highly on scales for depression, anxiety, and paranoia.

There is also the risk of microsleeps when a person has become really fatigued. After around 16 hours of staying awake, the body will attempt to balance the need for sleep, and if a person does not get enough of it, the brain will find other ways to get the sleep it needs.

Microsleeps are an uncontrollable response that your brain has when you are deprived of sleep, and it renders a person completely unable to process any stimulation around you as well as sensory information for an incredibly brief amount of time.

Your eyes will tend to remain open during a microsleep, but you will be spaced out during it. The attacks come on suddenly, making it potentially dangerous to drive or operate heavy machinery during them. A microsleep will happen regardless of whether or not you try to stay away, and it is because of this that it is almost impossible to stay away for more than 48 hours.

Tomorrow, come back here for Chapter 10: Habits to Avoid and sign up for Alaska Sleep Clinic's blog.

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Topics: sleep deprivation, circadian rhythm, microsleep

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