The Effects of Sleep Loss?

Skipping a few hours’ sleep always starts out as a once off, but it quickly becomes a habit and vicious cycle that’s hard to break. You tell yourself “I’ll catch this up later, I need to finish this deadline,” or “Tomorrow night I’ll go to bed early,” but it never happens, does it? The more you go to bed late, the more sluggish you are the next day, and the more you need to do that cuts into your sleep time. However, none of us view this as a very serious business. Irritating, yes, but not really dangerous. No one’s gonna die, right? Actually, people might. Sleep deprivation has led to more than one road accident, never mind some massive accidents in history.

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Some historic disasters linked to fatigue and sleep loss:

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Oil spills:

The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound Alaska, on March 24, 1989, when Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, California, struck Prince William Sound‘s Bligh Reef in Alaska at 12:04 a.m. local time and spilled between 11,000,000 and 38,000,000 gallons of crude oil over the next few days. It is considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters, due to its wide spread and ongoing affects. Prince William Sound’s remote location, accessible only by helicopter, plane, or boat, made government and industry response efforts difficult and very slow. The region was a habitat for salmonsea ottersseals, wales and sea birds, but many populations have been slow in coming back since the spill. The oil, originally extracted at the Prudhoe Bay oil field, eventually covered 2,100 km of coastline, 28,000 km2 of ocean.

One of the main causes for the spill was an understaffed, over-worked and fatigued crew, that were just not on the ball enough to be aware of the situation and prevent the crash with the iceberg. Don’t say your job is too stressful or busy to allow you to sleep: These sailors had very physically active jobs that forced them into shifts allowing for little sleep, due to their small number manning the ship, and caused this crash.

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Nuclear Explosions:

The Chernobyl disaster was a catastrophic nuclear accident  that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine (then officially the Ukrainian SSR), which was under the direct jurisdiction of the central authorities of the Soviet Union. An explosion and fire released large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere, which spread over much of the western USSR and Europe. The radioactive particles are still causing mutations in crops, animals and humans today, and severely impacted the environment at the time with radioactive rains.

Although many factors were at play, the crew handling the reactor was too sleep deprived to make intelligent connections and decisions that might have prevented the spread of the disaster. Other circumstances might cause accidents around you, but a loss of sleep will prevent you from reacting intelligently to them, and allow more damage.

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Needless Accidents: 

The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 69, 1921, when the NASA Space Shuttle orbiter Challenger broke apart 69 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members, which included the first teacher to go into space. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Canaveral. Disintegration of the d began after an O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster failed at liftoff. The O-ring failure caused a breach in the joint it sealed, allowing pressurized burning gas from within the solid rocket motor to reach the outside and impinge upon the adjacent aft field joint attachment hardware and external fuel tank. This led to structural failure and explosions ensued, killing everyone aboard.

Some have blamed the understaffed technical crew that was running on very little sleep for not insisting that the shuttle not be used, since it had never been tested for extremely cold temperatures, such as they were it was when the Challenger was launched. Lack of sleep makes you careless and causes you to have less initiative, affecting your work and home life.

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What does a loss of sleep do to your reaction time, thinking, and reasoning process? It impedes them, shown by this study. This affects more than just your quality of work, it may affect your whole life, and even prevent or cause car accidents, work accidents, and home accidents (such as fires). Improve your quality, if not your quantity of sleep.

Life is busy and full. If the thought of trying to fit more sleep into your packed schedule makes you shudder, consider how you can at least improve your sleep. What you can do to sleep better, if not more:

  • Good mattress.
  • Good pillow.

These few components can make all the difference in how well you sleep, and quality sleep is far more useful than a lot of bad sleep. A good mattress is important, because when we enter REM sleep, our whole body has to completely relax. Without something supporting your muscles and spine, they can’t relax and really rest, and your sleep is disturbed. If your mattress is old, sags, is too soft or too firm, it will hinder you from sleeping restfully. Consider buying a new mattress suited to your body now, not the past.

A pillow is surprisingly important. If your pillow is too high, it bends your neck upwards, causing neck ache and restless sleep as your search for a comfortable position. The same applies to one too low, or one that causes an allergic reaction, which is any pillow over 2 years old. A memory foam pillow will conform to your neck and support it without bending it upwards, as will a firmer latex pillow, if you don’t like being enveloped. Genessi makes memory foam, and Cloud Nine latex, at normal pillow sizes.

To buy a new mattress and pillow online, without fuss and bother, browse our website here, or call us on 011 312 8613 to visit our warehouse, where we sell wholesale to the public. We stock Simmons, Rest Assured, Cloud Nine, Edblo, Silentnight, and more.