Lack of sleep could cause medical issues - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Lack of sleep could cause medical issues

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

When you don't get enough sleep, your body has a desire to catch up. Doctors said that's especially the case when you're in the car because you're sitting.

Falling asleep behind the wheel has moved to the forefront in the past week after the truck driver who killed one man and critically injured actor/comedian Tracy Morgan in a New Jersey crash may not have slept for 24 hours.

"When someone is sitting still to drive, the body wants to sleep," said Dr. Karl Kuhn, a sleep disorder specialist at TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center. "It's a micro sleep where you fall asleep for two to three seconds. Problem is at 60 mph, asleep for two to three seconds and you're covering 80 yards."

That's when accidents tend to happen.

Doctors said that a lack of sleep for truck drivers is the leading cause of car wrecks.

There is a similar statistic for those driving a car.

People who are sleep deprived are three to four times more likely to have an accident.

Over time, a lack of sleep can take its toll.

"Sleep deprivation causes depressions, your physical reactions slow," said Kuhn. "Sleep apnea leads to stroke and heart problems over time, even death, over time."

Here are some things that may help you get a good night's sleep:

  • Have the same bed time and wake-up time.
  • Don't keep a TV in your bedroom.
  • Don't use your phone or iPad in bed.
  • Keep your room cool, dark and comfortable.

When it comes to how much rest is needed, doctors suggest adults should get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

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