Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Millions of Americans are sleep deprived — and it's literally killing us

It's a public health crisis, experts say.

Photo credit: Ken Harding / BIPs / Getty Images
  • 17 percent of all fatal car accidents are caused by sleep deprivation.
  • Seven to 8 hours is recommended for adult humans, more for adolescents.
  • About 1/3 of all adults are not getting at least seven hours of sleep each night.

A lack of sleep is frequently seen as something that people simply need to "power through" in order to get things done, or cope with events happening in their lives, work demands, etc. Recent studies, however, makes it more clear: This is a public health crisis.

Photo credit: JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP/ Getty Images

It's not just that sleep deprivation causes 17 percent of all fatal crashes for automobile drivers; sleep deprived workers are 70 percent more likely to cause on-the-job accidents, as well. (And here are 5 of the most famous industrial or on-the-job accidents caused by sleep deprivation. It's a thing, y'all.)

A chronic lack of sleep can lead to Alzheimer's, dementia, and other problems later in life, as well. Indeed, recent brain research shows that even a single night of sleep deprivation boosts the level of proteins that form toxic lumps found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. That same study showed an increase in a protein related to Parkinson's disease was also correlated with sleep deprivation.

Image source: STR / AFP / Getty Images

According to Science Daily, one in three adults report usually sleeping for fewer than seven hours a night. An estimated 7 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. and 17 percent of fatal crashes involve driver sleep deprivation; those who sleep less than 4 hours before getting behind the wheel are over 15 times more likely to cause an accident, with the same impairment as a driver who is at 1.5 times the legal alcohol limit.

So... how much is enough sleep to avoid all of this?

Screen capture from video below

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqONk48l5vY&feature=youtu.be

Experts suggest 7 to 8 hours — some people need more, especially as they get older or their brains mature, such as during adolescence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that as of just a few years ago, about one-third of all adults are not getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night.

Indeed, some scientists who study sleep are even suggesting the crisis is on par with the obesity epidemic — a startling comparison."It used to be popular for people to say, 'I'll sleep when I'm dead.' The ironic thing is, not sleeping enough may get you there sooner," said Daniel Buysse, a professor of sleep medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.

​Here's a bit more of what's happening to your brain when you sleep — or don't, as the case may be:


LIVE EVENT | Radical innovation: Unlocking the future of human invention

Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo


Keep reading Show less

Two MIT students just solved Richard Feynman’s famed physics puzzle

Richard Feynman once asked a silly question. Two MIT students just answered it.

Surprising Science

Here's a fun experiment to try. Go to your pantry and see if you have a box of spaghetti. If you do, take out a noodle. Grab both ends of it and bend it until it breaks in half. How many pieces did it break into? If you got two large pieces and at least one small piece you're not alone.

Keep reading Show less

Unfiltered lessons of a female entrepreneur

Join Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and best-selling author Charles Duhigg as he interviews Victoria Montgomery Brown, co-founder and CEO of Big Think.

Big Think LIVE

Women today are founding more businesses than ever. In 2018, they made up 40% of new entrepreneurs, yet in that same year, they received just 2.2% of all venture capital investment. The playing field is off-balance. So what can women do?

Keep reading Show less

Why ‘Christian nationalists’ are less likely to wear masks and social distance

In a recent study, researchers examined how Christian nationalism is affecting the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Catholic priest wearing a facemask and face shield blesses a hospital on August 6, 2020 in Manila, Philippines

Ezra Acayan/Getty Images
Coronavirus
  • A new study used survey data to examine the interplay between Christian nationalism and incautious behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The researchers defined Christian nationalism as "an ideology that idealizes and advocates a fusion of American civic life with a particular type of Christian identity and culture."
  • The results showed that Christian nationalism was the leading predictor that Americans engaged in incautious behavior.
Keep reading Show less
Sex & Relationships

Two-thirds of parents say technology makes parenting harder

Parental anxieties stem from the complex relationship between technology, child development, and the internet's trove of unseemly content.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast