LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A National Safety Council report found 70 percent of Americans admitted they routinely get insufficient sleep. While most just see it as inconvenient, it can be dangerous.
Dr. Mohamed Saad from the UofL Physicians Sleep Center said sleep deprivation can have short and long-term effects on health. The National Safety Council reports 13 percent of workplace injuries can be attributed to fatigue.
"Sleep deprivation can affect mental sharpness, memory, and the ability to perform tasks. Pilots and truck drivers need to be able to react in a short amount of time, so that is why sleep is very important," Dr. Saad said.
He shared the following tips to help people fall asleep better:
- Avoid exercising close to bedtime.
- Wake up and go to bed at a consistent time every day.
- Avoid electronics before bed.
- Keep the room cool.
- If you find yourself awake in bed for more than 30 minutes, get up and move to another room. When you start to doze off, head back to bed.
If those tips don't work and sleep persists, it may be time to see a specialist. Cliff Carter spent 28 years as an airline pilot with UPS. That job entailed a lot of travel and some weird hours, so he was often tired. He later went to UofL Health to see if this was a more serious problem. It turns out, Carter has sleep apnea.
"Get evaluated. If it is nothing, then it's no problem. If it is sleep apnea or something like that, there are procedures, medicines, and machines that can assist you to help you get good sleep," Carter said.
Once he knew that, he was able to get a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to help him sleep through the night. He said, after that, he started getting more rest and felt better prepared for the day ahead.