Sleep Deprivation can be Deadly

Sleeplessness is not just an inconvenience. The consequences of sleep deprivation can be deadly.

Austin, TX, August 28, 2005 --( Sleeplessness is not just an inconvenience. The consequences of sleep deprivation can be deadly. Not getting enough sleep has been linked to mental health issues, countless hours of lost work time and deadly accidents.

According to the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) fatigue attributes to 30-40 percent of all fatal heavy truck accidents. And, there are more than 100,000 accidents on our nation’s highways that are the direct result of sleep deprivation.

One of the most famous examples of a fatigue related accident is the grounding of the U.S. Tankship EXXON VALDEZ in Prince William Sound, near Valdez, Alaska on March 2, 1989. Although there were no human injuries, about 258,000 barrels of cargo were spilled when eight cargo tanks ruptured, resulting in catastrophic damage to the environment and losses to the local wildlife. While damage to the vessel and cargo amounted to more than $28 million, the cost of the cleanup of the spilled oil during 1989 alone was almost $2 billion, probably the most expensive fatigue-related accident in history.

As fatigue increases, performance becomes more variable, making performance less reliable. The speed of physical reaction time and speed of thought processes are slowed. There is a tendency to make mental errors and flawed judgments. False responding, or responding when a stimulus isn't present, also increases. Memory errors are more likely to occur and finally, vigilance decreases, and motivation is reduced.

“There are several things that experts recommend to ensure that you are getting enough sleep” said Howard Cloud of Dispos-A-Mask (, a maker of lightweight disposable sleep masks/blindfolds. Some are more obvious than others such as no caffeine before bedtime or no exercise within 2-3 hours of bedtime. Some other recommendations are; having a regular bedtime and not using the bedroom as a TV room. Also your bedroom should be dark, cool and quiet. The use of a sleep mask and ear plugs can help achieve these goals. And most of all, give yourself the time needed for a good nights sleep.

Howard Cloud