American society conspires against the need for sleep. Children set off for school before many workdays begin. Tough financial times push cash-strapped workers into seeking multiple jobs. Shift work conflicts with the body’s natural clock. Hard-charging executives push themselves to work long hours. The cost is more than fatigue. Sleep deprivation has been associated with a myriad of health problems, including increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and depression. Cognitive abilities decline as people tire. Risky behavior, such as driving while deeply fatigued, can put others in harm’s way. This Forum event — held just days before the country will lose an hour of sleep due to daylight saving time — explored what we mean by “sleep deprivation,” what happens in tired brains and bodies, what are the long-term health risks for children and adults, and what kinds of policies should be considered for schools and businesses to protect health. And a good night’s sleep.
Part of: Policy Controversies.
Presented in Collaboration with The Huffington Post
- SLEEP DISORDERS AND SLEEP DEPRIVATION: AN UNMET PUBLIC HEALTH PROBLEM
- ROTATING NIGHT SHIFT WORK LINKED TO INCREASED RISK OF TYPE 2 DIABETES IN WOMEN
HSPH Press Release
- RELATED PAPER: PLOS MEDICINE
- DIVISION OF SLEEP MEDICINE, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL
- DIVISION OF SLEEP MEDICINE, BRIGHAM AND WOMEN
- FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION
U.S. Department of Transportation
- SLEEP DEFICIT: THE PERFORMANCE KILLER
Harvard Business Review
- STUDY LINKS
Image Credit: iStockphoto.com/weareadventurers