Lack of Sleep Caused by Pandemic Increases Injury Risk
By Cohen & Dwin, P.A. on July 14, 2020 | In COVID
Getting too little sleep can wreak all sorts of havoc on a person’s life. From making it difficult to think clearly, to impacting mood, to damaging health, sleep deprivation causes many negative impacts. When people are sleepy, it can even increase the likelihood that they’ll get into a workplace accident or car wreck.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly harmful to many Americans’ sleep patterns. Recent studies show that over 50 percent of Americans have been sleeping less since the pandemic began.
Dangers of Not Sleeping Enough
The health of all areas of the body relies on regularly sleeping at least seven hours a night. Not getting enough quality sleep can have some of the same effects as alcohol on a person’s performance and judgment, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Some of the other dangerous impacts of not sleeping enough include:
- Difficulty concentrating, thinking, and problem-solving
- Increased depression and anxiety, as well as trouble controlling your temper, mood, and emotions
- Trouble processing new information and recalling long-term and short-term memories
- Increased risk of injuries and accidents like falls and car wrecks
- Problems fighting viruses like the flu and common cold due to a weakened immune system
- Decreased sex drive
- Elevated risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and respiratory issues
- Increased chance of developing type 2 diabetes or gaining weight
What Can Happen If You Are Drowsy on the Job?
Some of the most common dangers of worker fatigue include:
- Reduced productivity
- Increased risk of causing major injury to yourself or another worker
- Trouble handling stress
- Damage to motor skills
- Particular risks to people who do shift work
- Failure to properly enforce safety measures
- Difficulty processing information and remembering data or procedures
- Weakened immunity and increased risks for long-term health issues, such as heart disease, reproductive issues, obesity, diabetes, digestion problems, and depression
- Nodding off at work
- Overlooking the signs of sleep-deprived workers
Why Has the Coronavirus Pandemic Caused a Lack of Sleep?
Multiple different factors might be causing people to lose sleep during the coronavirus pandemic.
For one, many Americans are following very different schedules than usual. People who are forced to work from home due to the lockdown may be working odd hours in order to juggle work with other responsibilities, such as educating their kids whose school is closed or caring for loved ones who are sick with the virus.
With everything going on during the pandemic, many people feel like they no longer have time to sleep as much as they used to. Many don’t keep a constant sleep schedule anymore, plus they might be more likely to neglect things that could help improve the quality of their sleep like exercising, avoiding caffeine, and reducing screen time.
People are facing a high level of stress from dealing with circumstances directly related to the pandemic, such as the possibility that a family member could get sick, or they could get the virus themselves.
They are also stressed over other consequences of the global crisis, such as losing jobs, seeing a friend or loved one lose their job, worrying over the negative long-term impacts on the economy, and experiencing protests and hostile conversations over social and racial injustice. This stress can make it difficult for people to fall asleep, cause nightmares and other vivid dreams, and lead to other kinds of sleep disorders.
Signs of Sleep Deprivation
Some signs that a person might be sleep deprived include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness, including suddenly nodding off
- Unusual irritability, emotional outbursts, or other mood issues
- Frequent yawning or sluggishness
- Headaches or other body pains
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Trouble concentrating, making decisions, or learning new things
- Loss of appetite
- Frequent illness or difficulty recovering from a disease
Workers’ Compensation for Accidents Due to Sleep Deprivation
Working while fatigued increases a person’s chance of getting into an accident on the job by 70 percent, according to OSHA. If you were injured in a workplace accident due to sleep deprivation, you might be entitled to collect workers’ comp benefits to cover the cost of your injuries and losses.
These benefits are meant to help pay for things like related medical care, lost wages, permanent disabilities or disfigurement, and vocational rehabilitation, if needed.
Maryland law requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees’ work-related illnesses and injuries. However, it’s often difficult for workers to access the full benefits they’re owed if they try to handle their claim on their own.
For an employee to get the benefits they deserve, they must follow a complex and confusing claims process. This involves filling out complicated paperwork with multiple requirements for supporting documentation and often requires haggling with insurance or arguing at a hearing to get fair benefits.
Contact a Workers’ Comp Lawyer for Help
If you are suffering from a workplace illness or injury from an accident involving worker fatigue, contact the trusted Baltimore workers’ compensation lawyers at Cohen & Dwin, P.A. Since 1977, we’ve been helping workers just like you stand up for their rights and fight for the maximum compensation they were owed after workplace accidents.
At Cohen & Dwin, P.A., our experienced and compassionate workers’ comp attorneys can handle all the details of your claim for you, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. Along the way, we’ll treat you with the respect and personalized attention you deserve. We’ll answer any questions you might have about your case, help you understand your legal options, and work tirelessly to seek the best possible outcome for your case.