Sleepless in America


National Geographic produced this documentary about the hazards of sleep deprivation, available online.

Sleep helps regulate our hunger, gain benefits from our exercise, and remember what we have learned. And modern Western society has conspired against healthful sleep by making light and food constantly available, as well as requiring people to work shifts around the clock. Sleep deprivation reduces our ability to think clearly and slows our reaction time, causing people to make errors at work … and while driving. Among the workers most likely to be sleep-deprived? Physicians in training and emergency workers. Most of us don’t have to worry about killing someone or cutting ourselves with a scalpel at the office, but most of us drive a car every day or walk near where others are driving. We see a dramatic rise in accidents when the clocks change, in both spring and fall — any way you slice it, major changes to our schedules cause problems.

The video is long — almost 90 minutes — but at least take a look at this Washington Post blog entry summarizing the major problems that too little sleep creates for our lives. And use the time you saved to get some extra sleep!

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