Sleep Deficiency Linked (Yet Again) to an Increased Risk of Being in a Motor Vehicle Crash

By Perry, Susan | MinnPost.com, April 5, 2018 | Go to article overview

Sleep Deficiency Linked (Yet Again) to an Increased Risk of Being in a Motor Vehicle Crash


Perry, Susan, MinnPost.com


Among public health officials, sleep deficiency is a well-recognized cause of motor vehicle crashes — and deaths. Experts now attribute as many as one in five deaths in crashes on U.S. roads to drowsy driving.

Being behind the wheel while sleepy makes drivers less able to pay attention to the road, slower to react should there be a sudden need to brake or steer, and less likely to make good decisions.

The public, however, has been slow to connect sleep deficiency with unsafe driving. That lack of awareness is troubling, given that at least one in four American adults gets six or fewer hours of sleep on most nights — below the minimum seven hours per night considered necessary for most people to feel truly rested.

That means millions of people are driving daily on U.S. roads while under the influence of a sleep deficiency, putting their lives and the lives of others at great risk.

A recent study in the journal BMC Medicine, underscores the seriousness of the problem. It found that sleep deficiency due to either sleep apnea or not sleeping long enough at night is strongly associated with motor vehicle crashes — whether or not people are aware that they are sleepy.

“We found that chronically sleep-deprived individuals don’t perceive themselves as being excessively sleepy and thus don’t perceive themselves as impaired,” said Dr. Daniel Gottlieb, the study’s lead author and a physician specializing in sleep disorders at the Harvard University-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in a released statement. “This resulted in an increased risk of motor vehicle crashes in sleep-deprived individuals.”

Collecting the data

For the study, Gottlieb and his colleagues analyzed data from 1,745 men and 1,456 women between ages of 40 and 89 who were participating in the Sleep Heart Health Study, a community-based study of the health consequences of sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder that occurs when tissue in the back of a person’s throat narrows or blocks the airways, causing breathing to stop briefly during sleep. The pauses typically last for only a few seconds, but they can, in severe cases, occur 30 times or more a minute. The sleeper may not wake up, but the pauses will prevent deep, restful sleep. Daytime symptoms of sleep apnea include intense fatigue, depression, difficulty concentrating and excessive sleepiness.

When they entered the study, the participants filled out questionnaires about their health and sleep habits, including questions designed to measure their daytime sleepiness. They also underwent overnight polysomnography, a test that tracks and measures specific activities of the brain and the body during sleep. The test is used to diagnose sleep disorders, including sleep apnea.

Two years later, the participants filled out another set of questionnaires about their general health and sleep habits. This time they also answered questions related to their driving habits and their history of motor vehicle crashes. About 7 percent of the respondents reported that they had been involved in at least one motor vehicle crash during the previous year.

Key findings

The researchers compared the motor vehicle crash risk of the people with sleep apnea with those without the condition. They found that severe sleep apnea was associated with a 123 percent increased risk of motor vehicle crashes, while mild to moderate sleep apnea was linked to a 13 percent increased risk.

Next, the researchers looked at the link between hours slept at night and motor vehicle crash risk. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Sleep Deficiency Linked (Yet Again) to an Increased Risk of Being in a Motor Vehicle Crash
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.