Sleepiness, as a result of untreated sleep disorders or voluntary sleep deprivation, has been identified as the cause of a growing number of on-the-job accidents. At least 15 million Americans have non-traditional work schedules that conflict with their biological clocks. As many as 47 million adults may be putting themselves at risk for injury, health and behavior problems because they aren’t meeting their own minimum sleep need.
Impairment from fatigue is similar to that of alcohol and drugs. Studies show that after 17 hours of being awake, people have impaired performance comparable to someone with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05%. And after 24 hours of wakefulness, people are more impaired than someone who is legally drunk (0.10% BAC).
Drowsy Driving is common and deadly. Sleep-related crashes cause more than 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries as well as $12.5 billion in economic losses annually; indicating the existence of a major public health and safety problem.
National Sleep Foundation. (2002) Sleep in America Poll: 2002. Washington, DC.
Dawson D, Reid K. (1997) Fatigue, alcohol and performance impairment. Nature Jul 17;388(6639):235.
Williams A, Feyer A. (2000) Moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments in cognitive and motor performance equivalent to legally prescribed levels of alcohol intoxication. Occup Environ Med 57(10):649-55.
Knipling RR, Wang SS (1995) Revised estimates of the US drowsy driver crash problem size based on General Estimates System case reviews. 39th Annual Proceedings, Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, Chicago.
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