Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Lack of Sleep Hinders Airport Security Checks

(HealthDay News) -- A lack of sleep may affect airport baggage screeners' diligence and compromise passenger safety, suggests a study by a researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Dr. Nayantara Santhi studied 31 healthy people who were kept awake for 36 hours. During that time, the participants conducted a visual search task every two hours. The results showed that the longer the participants went without sleep, the more quickly they completed the searches, but they also made more mistakes.

"These results suggest that safety and performance in socially critical low target prevalence search tasks may be especially vulnerable to the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation," Santhi said in a prepared statement.

The study was to be presented Monday in Minneapolis at SLEEP 2007, the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

Experts say that the amount of sleep a person gets affects physical health, emotional well-being, mental abilities, productivity and performance. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep is associated with an increased risk of serious health problems such as depression, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

More information
The National Sleep Foundation outlines how much sleep people need.

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