We’ve all pulled an all-nighter at some point; we’ve all experienced the symptoms – tiredness, grumpiness, confusion and delayed reactions. Lack of sleep kills productivity, yet people still don’t comprehend just how bad sleep deprivation is.
Perhaps the majority of us have never truly been without sleep for longer than a couple of days, but statistics show that the amount of people suffering with sleep disorders is on the rise, with the University of Hertfordshire blaming smartphones and technology for disrupting our sleep.
A deadly problem
Lack of sleep and sleep deprivation has been implicated in several disasters of recent times – proving just how important sleep is, and how dangerous the effects can be:
In 2009, an Air France plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing 228 people. It later emerged that the pilot Marc Dubois had only one hour of sleep prior to the flight, and was recorded saying “I didn’t sleep enough last night”. When the plane went through a tropical storm, Captain Dubois and co-pilots ignored normal procedures and raised, rather than lowered, the plane’s nose when it ‘stalled’.
The Challenger space shuttle exploded after its launch in 1986, killing all seven crew members on board. A later report investigating the disaster published in 1988, stated that sleep deprivation was partly to blame: “The willingness of NASA employees in general to work excessive hours, while admirable, raises serious questions when it jeopardizes job performance, particularly when critical management decisions are at stake.”
Despite these incidents and numerous others, the effects of sleeplessness are still less reported than those of alcohol and drugs, which can be found almost every day throughout the various news media.
Yet sleep deprivation, and the other 80 or so recognised sleep disorders, remain a growing problem and threaten our mental and physical health, and apparently the health of others through our actions.
Will you now reconsider driving after a night of no sleep?
Louise Dickens graduated in Broadcast Journalism in 2013 and has since been writing and blogging about a variety of topics, including sleep for HotelContractBeds. Louise was part of the HotelContractBeds team that worked on the Sleep Deprivation Timeline highlighted in this post.