Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sleep Deprived? You Might as Well Be Drunk!

 We all know that the lack of sleep could cause some troubles. Some may consider it serious while others “get used” to it. If you haven't slept well, you might feel a little tired, confused, find it hard to concentrate, have constant headaches and sometimes hallucinations and not to mention the lack of energy. If you are stubborn enough, you will just say “I am okay!”

In fact, being sleep deprived could be as hazardous as being drunk on the road.

Here is a study done by Drew Dawson and Kathryn Reid where they examined the performance level affected by sleep deprivation as compared to alcohol intake. They had a little experiment, where there were 40 subjects divided in two experiments. The first experiment had its group be awake for 28 hours straight while the other group was asked to consume 10-14 g of alcohol at 30 min intervals till their blood alcohol concentration reached 0.10%.

We know that both sleep deprivation and alcohol intake will impair performance. No big news here. But, here are some interesting results.


Performance decreased by 0.74% per hour between the 10th and 26th hours of being awake.

Alcohol Intake

Performance decreased by 1.16% for each 0.01% increase in blood alcohol.

It doesn’t make much sense to me. With a little math, however, they have calculated that after 17 hours of being awake, performance decreased with the same level of having 0.05% of alcohol concentration in the blood. It’s enough alcohol that is considered “the proscribed level of alcohol intoxication in many western industrialized countries."

Which brings us to this question, if having drunk drivers illegal everywhere because it’s harmful driving leading to dangerous accidents, then how come it is okay for employers to have their employees work long shifts without much sleep and consider it safe?

Image Credits to: Ambro

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