by Peyton Jackson, ATC

Sleep. No one seems to get enough of it (though, some get too much of it with negative effects). But, if we’re being honest, a majority of people don’t get enough energy from sleep to make it through the day. This can have a major affect on the body! According to EHS Today, “A single night of total sleep deprivation can affect your functioning for up to two weeks.” So that one all-nighter may result in a two week setback! Buckle up, as we learn the negative impacts of sleep deprivation and attempt to change the culture of sleep.

Ten Dangers

There are multiple dangers of sleep deprivation, but EHS Today sums it up to ten. Nine of these dangers include: decreased communication, performance deterioration, increased distraction risk, driving impairments, increased errors, poor memory, poor mood, greater risk-taking behavior, and inability to make necessary adjustments. Any one of these first nine has the ability to negatively affect a day’s work, but the tenth danger talks about sleep deprivation compounding, meaning multiple nights in a row with less than seven hours of sleep can result in a total night of sleep deprivation. Overall, sleep deprivation can become a negative habit that affects not only your working life, but your relationships with your friends and family.

Long Term Effects

Along with the list of short-term dangers, there are long-term effects as well. “In the long-term, sleep deprivation can cause serious health problems including: certain cancers, depression, digestive and stomach issues, heart disease, obesity, reproductive problems, sleep disorders, etc.” The list continues, but what it all boils down to is that sleep is much more important than we give it credit. The less we prioritize sleep the more negatively it impacts our lives.

Driving Sleep Ed.

While many occupations are affected by lack of sleep, one occupation hits close to home for many industrial athletes. Truck drivers occupy many companies around the world and these drivers don’t just drive during the day. Most of the time they are driving overnight and sleeping in odd places which can result in sleep deprivation or compound sleep deprivation. Let’s go back to the list of ten dangers and imagine how truck drivers are affected by them as well as the other people impacted by a truck driver’s lack of sleep.

Prioritizing Sleep

So we know the problem, but how do we fix it? As injury prevention specialists, we encourage the industrial athlete to prioritize sleep. Discussing the benefits of good sleep and the negative impacts of lack of sleep can give people a better understanding of the importance of sleep. Be sure to check out Work Right’s sleep training tips for getting a better night’s sleep.

Another way to help is for everyone to learn the signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation. That education and recognition can potentially prevent a fatigue-related accident. “Sleep deprivation increases the likelihood of a workplace accident by 70 percent.” Let’s continue to make a dent in health care by educating and encouraging people to improve their sleep patterns!

Peyton Jackson, ATC || Peyton is a Certified Athletic Trainer in Decatur, IL. She grew up in Illinois and graduated from Millikin University. Following graduation, she lived in Tanzania for two months before returning to the States where she began her full time industrial athletic training with Work Right. In her free time she enjoys going on bike rides with her husband, volunteering at after school programs with her church, and traveling (especially back to Africa whenever possible)!

Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips for the industrial athlete from Work Right NW!