THE IMPACT OF SLEEP DISORDERS - FAST FACTS
- Forty million American adults suffer from a specific chronic sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or severe clinical insomnia.
- Chronic insomniacs reported 2.5 times as many fatigue-related automobile accidents than did non-insomniacs.
- Individuals who report sleeping six hours or less a night experience poorer health and visit their doctor more frequently than those sleeping 7-8 hours a night, and had a 70% higher mortality rate compared to those sleeping 7-8 hours per night in a 9 year follow-up study.
- Excessive sleepiness has been identified as the cause of major disasters such as the Exxon Valdez tanker grounding, the space shuttle Challenger disaster, and the near melt down of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Reactor, among many others.
- The most frequently cited probable cause of mass transportation accidents is fatigue (excessive sleepiness), accounting for nearly 1/3 of all fatal-to-the-driver heavy trucking accidents (on average every commercial truck driver who dies in an accident is accompanied to the grave by more than four innocent bystanders).
- A recent study revealed that nearly 50% of commercial truck drivers suffer from a moderate to severe degree of sleep apnea.
- Sleep apnea alone is the cause of excessive daytime sleepiness experienced by nearly 20 million Americans. It is more common than asthma.
- Individuals with untreated sleep apnea are 7 times more likely to have automobile accidents than others in the population.
- Twenty percent of all drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once.
- An additional 20 to 30 million adults experience intermittent sleep-related problems.
- Even short periods of sleep deprivation can significantly impair performance. For instance, a reduction of sleep time to 5 hours per night for only 2 consecutive nights significantly impairs levels of alertness, vigilance, and worsens arithmetic ability and creative thinking.
- Anywhere from 40-80% of shift workers have difficulty sleeping.
- Shift workers suffer a higher incidence of illness than non-shift workers, including gastrointestinal and cardiovascular disorders.
- Night workers and rotating shift workers have a three- to five-fold increase in psychosocial problems, such as an inability to find time for family obligations, community service, or other routine activities.
- More than half of night workers (in the utility, manufacturing, petroleum and chemical industries) admit to falling asleep on the job at least once a week.
- Approximately 50% of women with children three years old or younger work outside the home; nearly 2/3 of this group work full time and 15% of working females are shift workers. In addition to their work responsibilities, these women most often serve a dual role as the primary caregivers for the children and the elderly thus potentiating their vulnerability to sleep deprivation.
- Of individuals who often experience jet lag, 90% reported excessive daytime sleepiness, nearly 80% reported insomnia, nearly 70% reported impaired concentration, and two thirds reported slowed physical reflexes.
- Workplace productivity loss due to sleep disorders has been estimated at $150 billion annually.
- $16 billion dollars were spent in direct costs for sleep disorders in 1990 alone.
- 95% of patients with sleep disorders go undiagnosed.