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Sleep problems and sleepiness increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents in adolescents
Date:2/15/2010

abits and sleepiness at the wheel were evaluated by questions assessing the frequency and timing of car use and accidents, the perceived causes of vehicle crashes and the respondents' coping methods for dealing with sleepiness while driving.

Results show that students suffered from chronic sleep deprivation. Although they reported that their sleep need was a mean of 9.2 hours per night, the students reported sleeping for an average of only 7.3 hours on weeknights. Only six percent of students slept nine hours or more on weeknights, and 58 percent tried to catch up by sleeping nine hours or more on weekends.

Sleep problems also were commonly reported by the students. Forty-five percent woke up at least once during the night with trouble falling asleep again, 40 percent complained of difficulties in morning awakening and 19 percent reported bad sleep. The combination of chronic sleep loss and poor sleep quality had a negative effect on their alertness, as 64 percent of participants complained of excessive daytime sleepiness.

The study also found an increased risk of car accidents in men (OR = 3.3) and smokers (OR = 3.2). The authors suggested that the use of tobacco could be an indirect estimate of unhealthy lifestyle habits, as well as a method of counteracting sleepiness.

According to the authors, the study emphasizes the need for education programs that target adolescents with information about improving sleep habits, the importance of sleep and the dangers of sleep deprivation.


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Contact: Kelly Wagner
kwagner@aasmnet.org
708-492-0930
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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