Driver fatigue is a leading cause of costly accidents, and it’s why companies must be proactive about fatigue risk management. There are plenty of signs of sleep deprivation, both obvious and subtle. But even if your drivers know what to watch out for, sleep deprivation awareness won’t always provide reliable risk management unless your company also implements collision avoidance systems.
Individuals who are sleep deprived tend to have impaired motor skills, particularly hand-eye coordination. They may drop things more frequently or display imprecise movements. This is a troubling issue for workers who operate heavy machinery.
The body needs sleep to produce cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that build up the immune system. People who are sleep deprived are at a higher risk of systemic inflammation and susceptibility to infections. In other words, fatigued workers are more likely to contract colds frequently, and have trouble getting over illnesses.
Sleep allows the body to take care of many tasks that are necessary for good health, including balanced hormone levels. Individuals who are sleep deprived have hormonal imbalances, including an undesirable ratio of leptin to ghrelin. These are the so-called “hunger hormones.” When the body produces too much ghrelin because of sleep deprivation, the individual will feel hungrier than usual. Snacking all day long is also an attempt by the brain to boost energy levels in order to compensate for fatigue.
Sufficient sleep is crucial for short-term and long-term brain health. Research suggests that sleep allows the brain to rid itself of toxic molecules. Without enough rest, individuals will often find themselves struggling to remember information, like where they put the keys or what they watched on TV the previous evening. One’s ability to form clear memories can also be impaired by the poor concentration and attention that are often caused by sleep deprivation.
Guardvant is an industry leader in fatigue risk management. Let’s chat about driver fatigue prevention and collision avoidance systems. Call our office in Tucson, AZ at (520) 299-1911.