Sleeping less than 7 hours puts you at greater risk of car crashes, says study

Sleepy drivers

Losing on adequate sleep hours due to odd work shifts or managing personal life? It is time to stop compromising your sleep hours as it may land you up in trouble, according to a recent study. This new study that appeared in SLEEP shows that people who have slept for less than 7 hours have higher chances of getting involved in and being responsible for car accidents. The risk is even greater for drivers who have slept for less than 4 hours, a recent media report highlighted.

All adults should manage to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night, suggest experts. However, hardly any adult across the globe get adequate sleep these days, they said. The study has shown that around 7% of all motor vehicle crashes and 16% of fatal crashes are due to drowsiness of drivers. On studying about 5,470 car crash cases from the US Department of Transportation, it was found that drivers who reported fewer than 4 hours of sleep had 15.1 times the odds of responsibility for car crashes compared to those drivers who slept for the recommended 7 to 9 hours, stated the media report.

Researchers found out that drivers who slept for 6, 5 and 4 hours in the past 24 hours had 1.3, 1.9 and 2.9 times the odds of responsibility for a car accident, respectively, compared to those who had 7 to 9 hours sleep in the preceding 24 hours. Those who slept for 4 hours had maximum chance of meeting with a car accident claiming lives. Also, those who changed their sleep or work schedule in the past week were found to be at a greater risk of car crashes.

Study author, Brian Tefft, said in the release: “Being awake isn’t the same as being alert. Falling asleep isn’t the only risk. Even if they manage to stay awake, sleep-deprived drivers are still at increased risk of making mistakes—like failing to notice something important or misjudging a gap in traffic—which can have tragic consequences.”