Health Expert: We Need More Sleep

Researchers say up to a third of Americans are not getting the proper sleep their bodies and brains need. The CDC say it’s a national public health problem , and in the opinion of one expert, “it’s essentially another pandemic.”

Susan Harris is a nurse and sleep expert with University of Nebraska Extension. She spent much of her career studying sleep and educating and advising people about it, especially farmers and farm workers and she said sleep deprivation produces the same effects on the body as being drunk.

“[Such as ] difficulty concentrating, we just become klutzier, we make poor decisions which becomes a huge problem on farming and ranch properties because we know how dangerous farming and ranching is anyway and then to add to it this fatigue factor becomes life threatening.”

But, Harris noted, the danger extends beyond farms to streets and highways everywhere.

“Sleepiness accounts for the highest number of fatal single-car run-off-the-road crashes; even more than alcohol and drugs combined,” Harris said.

About 6,000 fatal single-car accidents every year are caused by drowsy drivers.

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