Getting a good night sleep is essential to being able to drive safely and to performing your job safely. Any time you get behind the wheel, it is important that you are awake and alert so that you do not start to nod off or take your focus off the road. When you are at work, it is also important that your faculties are working and that you aren’t impaired by being overly fatigued, especially if you work on a construction site, in an industrial setting or in any field where you might have to operate machinery or equipment.
Unfortunately, while almost everyone knows the value of a good night sleep, more and more Americans are struggling to get the shut-eye they need. Our North Carolina injury attorneys are concerned about the implications of an increase in the number of Americans suffering from sleep disorders. More tired people may mean more drowsy driving accidents and more workplace incidents that put people at risk of serious injury.
Americans’ Sleep Problems are Getting Worse
It is difficult to determine exactly how many people in the United States suffer from sleep problems or sleep disturbances. However, a recent article published on Money News in December shed some light on this issue. According to Money News:
- Research conducted by the National Center on Sleep Disorders indicates that approximately 70 million Americans have disturbed sleep or sleep challenges. Sleep problems can range from sleep apnea to snoring to insomnia.
- More Americans than ever are struggling with sleep problems and trying valiantly to get help with their issues. In fact, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has now accredited a record number of sleep clinics, more than at any time in their history since 1977. There are now 2,500 different sleep clinics where people can undergo treatment for sleep problems.
- The Centers for Disease Control have declared insufficient sleep to be an epidemic in the United States.
This data from Money News is cause for great concern, since more fatigued people can mean more people doing their jobs when they are tired or getting behind the wheel when they are too exhausted to be safe. A New York Times article on Drowsy Driving also adds additional support to the facts about drowsy Americans creating a danger. According to their article, a CDC study of 147,000 adults in 19 states and D.C. revealed that 4.2 percent of all survey respondents had fallen asleep in the past month as they were driving their cars. Unfortunately, the younger drivers- those ages 18 to 44- were significantly more likely to report that they had fallen asleep as they drove. In fact, while only 1.7 percent of the over 65 group of drivers reported falling asleep, more than five percent of the younger group said they’d nodded off.
Staying Awake, Staying Alert
All of this data on drowsy drivers and an increase in sleep disorders is cause for great concern. Not only are people at risk in their cars because they could encounter a dangerous drowsy driver, but they are also at risk when they are working with someone who might be over-tired.
In order to minimize your chances of suffering an injury due to a fatigued driver or co-worker, you should be on the lookout for people who seem to be struggling to stay awake. Watch for people who seem to be overly distracted, staring off into space, having trouble keeping their eyes open, yawning frequently or even nodding off. Of course, you should also be sure you don’t become a part of the problem by making sure to get enough sleep and to refrain from driving or operating machinery if you are too exhausted.