Sleep is so important though, that the lack of it can have devastating and dire consequences. In fact, sleep deprivation has been a factor in some of the biggest disasters in recent history: Air France flight 447 (killing all aboard, the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, the massive Exxon Valdez oil spill, the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, the space shuttle Challenger explosion), the Great Heck rail crash in UK, and many, many more
Lack of sleep is also a huge public safety hazard every day on the road. Drowsiness can slow reaction time as much as driving drunk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that sleepiness is related to over 100,000 auto crashes and 1,550 sleep-related deaths a year in the United States alone.
Studies show that sleep loss and poor-quality sleep also lead to accidents and injuries on the job. In one study, workers who complained about excessive daytime sleepiness had significantly more work accidents, particularly repeated work accidents. Sleepy workers are 70 percent more likely to be involved in accidents and workers with chronic insomnia are far more likely to report industrial accidents or injuries.
People with excessive sleepiness who also snore (a potential sign of sleep apnea) are twice as likely to be involved in workplace accidents. And tragically, a Swedish study of nearly 50,000 people found that those with sleep problems were nearly twice as likely to die in a work-related accident. Sleep deprived people also had more sick days per accident.
Are you getting enough sleep?