Sleep Deprivation and Higher Risk of Accidents

It is likely not surprising that sleep deprivation leads to a higher risk of accidents. Three recent studies have sought out a statistical link between sleep deprivation and an increased risk of car accidents and on-the-job injuries. The studies specifically focused on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Higher Risk of Accidents

Three different groups of researchers published findings in medical journals between 2016 and 2018. All studies were based on participants who were sleep-deprived and related the lack of sleep to affected outcomes, although not all studies were investigating the same results.

The first study, published in the British Medical Journal – Thorax (BMJ) in 2016, focused on how sleep deprivation affected work-related injuries. The study was conducted at the University of British Columbia Hospital Sleep Laboratory from the period of 2003 through 2011. The study revealed that the 1,263 patients who suffered from OSA were three times as likely to experience at least one workplace injury compared to those patients without the condition.

The second study was performed by researchers from the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Genoa in Italy and was published in the medical journal Sleep Medicine. The study focused on nearly 300 male dangerous-goods truck drivers and sought a link between OSA sufferers and motor vehicle accidents (MVA) or near-miss accidents (NMA). This study revealed that drivers who suffered severe OSA were five times as likely to have an NMA. Two years of treatment for OSA reduced the risk significantly, making it comparable to those drivers who did not have an OSA diagnosis.

The third study, published in BMC Medicine in March 2018, was performed at the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. Researchers found that patients diagnosed with severe OSA were at 123% increased MVA risk than those without the diagnosis. Additionally, all patients who reported six or less hours of nightly sleep were at a 33% higher risk than others who reported seven to eight hours of nightly sleep.

The Importance of Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a good night’s rest does several things: It helps us to think clearly, helps us to remember information, and helps us to make decisions. When we fail to get an adequate amount of sleep, our executive function, or the abilities we need to do well in daily life, are negatively affected. Studies show that one in three American adults do not get sufficient sleep on a regular basis. There are several causes contributing to this epidemic including sleep disorders, poor sleep habits, and shift or job-related restrictions.  

Personal Injury Help in Las Vegas

Researchers across the globe are studying statistical links between sleep deprivation and its effects. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury due to the negligence of another, whether or not sleep deprivation was a factor in causing the accident, contact the skilled attorneys at Parry & Pfau. We have fought for the rights of the injured across the state of Nevada and are ready to fight for you.


(image courtesy of Gregory Pappas)