Several famous accidents can be attributed to lack of sleep. The third officer of the oil tanker Exxon Valdez that ran aground on March 24, 1989 and spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil had been awake for 18 hours before the accident. The Walmart van driver who struck Tracy Morgan’s limousine truck in 2014 that seriously injured him and killed one of his comedy writers had been awake for more than 24 hours. Workers at 3 Mile Island were deprived of sleep and did not notice the rise in core temperature that resulted in the 1979 nuclear accident. The fact that certain managers involved in the launch had only slept two hours before arriving at work at The 1 a.m. launch morning may have contributed to the Challenger explosion in 1986.
How much is enough sleep? Sleep needs vary from person to person. They vary by age, lifestyle, and health. Work schedules and stress can affect how much sleep someone needs. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night for adults ages 26 to 64. They point out that an amount of 6 to 10 hours per night may be appropriate.
Are you getting enough sleep? You can find out with the Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT). This simple but smart test designed by Dr. William Dement can be done at home.
In the late afternoon, grab a metal spoon and cookie sheet, put on your pajamas, close the curtains in your bedroom, place the cookie sheet on the floor next to your bed, and lie down with the spoon on the bed. hand and hand hanging. on the side of the bed. Write down the time and go to sleep. When you fall asleep, your hand will relax, you will drop the spoon on the cookie sheet, and the noise will wake you up so you can check the time. The number of minutes it took from lying down to falling asleep is your sleep latency number.
· 0-5 minutes means you have a severe sleep deficit.
5-10 minutes means you are on the limit.
· 10 to 15 minutes indicates a manageable sleep deficit.
15-20 minutes means you are well rested. *
If it took you less than 10 minutes, you are putting your health in jeopardy with your lack of sleep. Less than 15 minutes? You can still sleep more.
· More than 15 minutes? You are getting enough sleep.
* Bob Irish, “Are You An Accident Waiting to Oppen? Early to Rise, December 2, 2015.