Impaired by lack of sleep?

July 19, 2011

Photo credit: nathansnostalgia on Flickr

Are you tired? If so, you aren’t alone.

Many of us sacrifice sleep for many of the same reasons – work, family life, socializing, social media. We know sleep is important, but we don’t make it a priority.

One study measures the effects of fatigue and compared it to blood alcohol content with the following results:

  • 17 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of .05 (the legal limit in Canada)
  • 21 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of .08
  • 24-25 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of .10

“We live in a society where fatigue is a serious workplace health and safety issue,” reads a Human Factors Bulletin from WorkSafeBC. “Everyone can become fatigued. The best way to cope with fatigue is to prevent its onset.”

Sleep is the solution

More sleep is the obvious answer – 7.5 to 8 hours a night, ideally. We just need to convince ourselves that sleep is a high enough priority – just like this overworked airline executive in Grounded needs to do. This 20-minute video from the US Federal Aviation Agency shows how lack of sleep affects decision-making, behaviour, and quality of life. I would not want to live like the character in this film – whose problems can be experienced by people in any industry.

“Grounded” from Michael Curtis on Vimeo.

More info on fatigue and sleep hygiene

Work schedules and fatigue from WorkSafeBC

Shift work linked to higher risk of work injury: UBC study from Canadian Occupational Safety magazine

GUIDE TO SAFE WORK: FATIGUE MANAGEMENT from Enform, the safety association for Canada’s upstream oil and gas industry

Human factors: Fatigue from Britain’s Health and Safety Executive

Shift Work and Sleep from the U.S National Sleep Foundation

Photo credit: Craftology on Flickr

OHS Answers: Fatigue from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Fatigue from the Canada Safety Council

Fatigue, Extended Work Hours, and Safety in the Workplace from Work Safe Alberta

Factors to consider when managing fatigue from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland

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One Response to “Impaired by lack of sleep?”

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  1. I shared this link over on “I Love Agriculture”. I enjoyed the embedded video. I thought it was very well done!