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The Importance of Sleep

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The Importance of Sleep George Dolgikh/PhotoSpin

The National Sleep Foundation published a study that found an alarming trend among those in the transportation business.

Not only ground transportation professionals (taxi, limo, truck and bus drivers) but also pilots admitted to having sleep issues and that this impacts their ability to function properly at times.

Nearly a quarter of those polled said that sleepiness has affected their job performance at least once a week, “compared to about one in six non-transportation workers.” In addition, “One in five pilots (20%) admit that they have made a serious error and one in six train operators (18%) and truck drivers (14%) say that they have had a ‘near miss’ due to sleepiness.”

The foundation also found that pilots are more likely to be in accidents as a result of jet lag and sleep deprivation than people who are not in the transportation business.

Part of the reason that these people are so tired is that they often work varied shifts and thus do not have an adequate sleep pattern.

Transportation professionals aren’t the only ones who report sleep issues, however.

According to an article on WebMD, “Today, about 20% of Americans report that they get less than 6 hours of sleep on average, and the number of Americans that report that they get 8 hours of more has decreased.”

Business Insider published a study about the most tired cities in the United States. In the study, Charleston, West Virgina was found to be the home to the sleepiest people.

Long commutes between home and work and back are also a factor, as most people tend to live far from where they work.

Today’s society does not value the importance of being well rested and this can lead to numerous health concerns.

Mike Roizen, MD, a contributor to the Dr. Oz website, said that “Sleep is also important because deep sleep increases production of a chemical called human growth hormone, which helps you maintain your healthy growth and metabolism.”

Many Americans struggle with their weight, and sleep deprivation can aggravate this, because people start to crave sugar and carbs to keep them awake.

Depression and anxiety can also be results of not getting enough sleep, because the brain doesn’t get enough time to rest.

The body’s internal clock gets thrown off by irregular sleep behavior, too.

To stay healthy and alert at work (and during the day), create a regular sleep schedule for yourself and stick to it.


Cowher Williams, Jennifer. "Sleepy Pilots, Train Operators and Drivers." National Sleep Foundation. National Sleep Foundation, 1 Mar. 2012. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

Lerche Davis, Jeanie. "The Toll of Sleep Loss in America." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 5 Dec. 2012.

Plaue, Noah. "The 25 Most Sleep-Deprived Cities In America." Business Insider. Business Insider, 27 July 2012. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

Roizen, Mike. "Why Are We So Desperate for Sleep?" The Dr. Oz Show. HARPO Inc., 26 Oct. 2011. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

Reviewed December 6, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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