A new study has suggested that insomnia could actually be a significant factor major in road- deaths and other fatal injuries on Irish roads. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder and results in people constantly having difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep. The condition results in a number of problems like fatigue, irritability, depression, poor concentration and poor coordination.
The research which was carried out in Norway involved approximately 55,000 men and women aged between 20 and 89. To measure the accuracy the researchers kept track over a 13-year period of all deaths as a result of unintentional fatal injuries, including road accidents.
The study showed that a person’s risk of suffering a fatal injury increased significantly depending on the higher number of insomnia symptoms they suffered from. Those who suffered three symptoms were 2.8 times more likely to be killed in a fatal crash when compared to those who did not suffer from the disorder.
Of all the symptoms associated with insomnia, those who had trouble falling asleep seemed to have the strongest link with fatal injuries. People who constantly had problems falling asleep were at least two times more likely to die in a road accident, and at least 1.5 times more likely to die from any unintentional fatal injury, compared to people who had never had an issue falling asleep.
The research suggested that issues falling asleep contributed to 34% of road-related deaths and 8% of all unintentional fatal injuries. The fatalities could have been prevented if the people did not suffer from insomnia according to the study’s lead author, Dr Lars Laugsand, of the Norwegian University of Science in Technology.
Dr Laugsand said “Our results suggest that a large proportion of unintentional fatal injuries and fatal motor vehicle injuries could have been prevented in the absence of insomnia.Increasing public health awareness about insomnia and identifying and treating people with insomnia may be important in preventing unintentional fatal injuries.”