The new documentary “Sleepless in America” explores sleep loss as a byproduct of modern society. Or more specifically, it reveals the compounding consequences of having a population that simply does not get enough sleep.
The road we are heading down is not pleasant. With drowsy drivers who are every bit as dangerous as drunks to the associated long-term health problems like diabetes and dementia, the long-term cost of sleep loss is excessive.
And we are doing this to ourselves.
The documentary is an argument against the demands of a 24/7 society and the allure of the many devices in our living rooms or, in worse cases, at our bedsides.
“Sleepless in America” uses every angle it can to get you to reconsider your own choices and take action. Cutting-edge research like brain imaging and sleep deprived mice with massive tumor growths are used to provide scientific evidence against sleep loss. Personal accounts, such as the horrific story of the husband who lost half his family when a hospital worker drove home drowsy after an extra-long shift, are an emotional appeal for change.
If this film is successful in its mission, you’ll come away convinced to aim for the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep instead of a caffeine-enhanced 5 hours, to bring the CPAP back to your bedside, or to reconsider getting behind the wheel when you feel fatigued.
The barrage of warnings from researchers and physicians and the tragic and cautionary accounts combine to frame our society’s sleeplessness as a disease that needs immediate attention.
The documentary is a co-production of National Geographic, the Public Good Projects and the National Institutes of Health.
Watch Sleepless in America