Friday, April 02, 2004

National Sleep Awareness Week

March 29 through April 4 is National Sleep Awareness Week®.
(Click on Logo for Info)

March 29 to April 4, 2004, is National Sleep Awareness Week.  I would have called it National Sleep Disorders Awareness Week, but that would not have fit on the logo. 

There are three common sleep disorders, and dozens of rare ones.  The three common ones are obstructive sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy.  Contrary to popular belief, it is entirely possible for someone to have a serious sleep disorder and not know it. 

First, check your sleep IQ here.  After learning that most people do not know when they are sleepy (which is highly counterintuitive), take the Epworth excessive daytime sleepiness test  here

An Epworth score of 15 or higher indicates a significantly increased risk of falling asleep while driving. 

¶The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that approximately 100,000 police-reported crashes annually (about 1.5% of all crashes) involve drowsiness/fatigue as a principal causal factor. A conservative estimate of related fatalities is 1,500 annually or 4% of all traffic crash fatalities. At least 71,000 people are injured in fall-asleep crashes each year. NHTSA estimates these crashes represent $12.5 billion in monetary losses each year.

¶ I
n a 1999 NSF poll, 62% of all adults surveyed reported driving a car or other vehicle while feeling drowsy in the prior year. Twenty-seven percent reported that they had, at some time, dozed off while driving. Twenty-three percent of adults stated that they know someone who experienced a fall-asleep crash within the past year.
The reason I post this is that the sleep disorders, collectively, are illnesses that have a huge impact on society.  The contribute to job loss, workplace injury, relationship problems, and make all kinds of medical and psychiatric conditions worse.  The darnedest thing is that they usually are easy to treat, but you have to make the diagnosis before you can do the treatment.  Usually, the treatment does not cost very much.  Therefore, it is an area in which society can benefit greatly by increasing the recognition and treatment of these problems; there is a large "bang for the buck" ratio.  Other major public health problems -- such as cancer, HIV, and domestic violence, to name a few -- are either much more costly to treat, more refractory to treatment, or both. 

For more (obscure) information, see my previous posts: 1  2  3  4