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Drowsy Driving Among Night Shift Workers

Problem/Needs/Assets Statement A clear and convincing description of the community health problem of drowsy driving among night shift workers that is supported by research literature and/or community-based
information
Introduction
            In the light of increasinground the clock globalized economies,the demandfor people to work for extended hours at nighthas continued to gain popularity. However, most of thenight shift workers experience problems of sleepiness or difficulties in sleeping. According toscientific research, the body has in-built mechanisms including biochemical means of tracking the time spent while awake and while sleeping (Pilcher, Lambert,& Huffcutt, 2000).This paper explores how drowsiness in driving among nightshift workers is a communal health problem.
Needs/Problem/Asset Statement
            According to National Sleep Foundation (2008),recent statistics shows sleepiness ascausing more road accidents than alcohol, although both factors are correlated. In view of this, finding a solution to sleepy driving is of paramount importance. Ideally,sleeping habits and working hours are important factors when it comes to occupational safety and the entire community’s wellness. It is widely known that night shift work is highly associated with increased cases of sleepiness, especially when driving back home, hence doubling the risk of being involved in a crash.In addition, it is important to acknowledge how sleepiness in driving extends problems to the community as a whole.
            Sleepiness in driving is an important, though often unrecognized community health problem. There are very few studies that have examined how night shifts work arrangement contributes to sleepinessin driving. This project evaluates how sleepiness as a result of night shift work arrangement is a community health problem.
            Sleepiness driving refers to operating a motor vehicle while sleep-deprived or overly fatigued. However, it poses a serious risk not only for individual’s safety and health, but also for other road users. According to statistics, fatigue related clashes accounts for about 1.2 million accidents and 500,000 injuries annually(National Sleep Foundation, 2008). In this case, such accidents may not only cause deaths to the sleepy driver, but could also kill other road users or inflict serious injuries. In this respect, many families end up losing their loved ones, while sometimes the victims are they permanently incapacitated due to injuries.
            This problem has devastating communal impact since the entire community may be needed to offer assistance to the families of the affected casualties. According to statistics, about 79.5% of nurses work in night shifts(Philibert, 2005).The statistics further indicates that such nurses are prone to suffer sleepiness while driving as compared to their counterparts working during the day time. Taking note that drowsy driving has overtaken drunkenness as the leading cause of motor vehicle crashes, the community could end up losing significant number of nurses who are already few in numbers. Such loss could also translate into increased loss of lives of people admitted in health facilities since there would be no sufficient staff to take care of them.
            Commercial driving significantly contributes to the country’s economy. However, following the natural circadian rhythms, the drivers are prone to falling asleep while driving.This results to accidents, ending up not only in destroying the trucks, but also the goods on transit. This causes devastating effects to the community since it translatesinto shortage of commodity supply with eventual increased product prices(Barger, et. al., 2005).In addition, such discriminative product prices render the products, which are manufactured by local industries, less competitive against imports leading to reduced productivity of the entire national economy.
            According to medical research, night shift workers are prone to certain illnesses including cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, gastrointestinal disorder and diabetes (Anund et.al. 2008).The research further indicates that factors such as increased exposure to artificial light mostly from spotlights of other road users and lack of sleep inhibit normal production of melatonin, which plays an important role in body mechanisms such as controlling blood pressure levels, as well as decreased opportunities for blood clot which causes heart attack and clots(Anund et.al. 2008).Melatonin is also knownto limit the body from producing estrogen and other hormones known to fuel endometrial, breast and prostate cancer. With the current increase in such life threatening terminal cases, the community suffers as it spends much of its resources seeking medical care for the affected people. In addition, such health problems could eventually lead to death and depriving many families of their bread winners.
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