Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ithaca Lawyer: The Value of Sleep and Mental Alertness

I am a 50 year old man. There is one thing better than food, sex, or a court victory... that is a good night's sleep. I'm talking about those delicious REM (rapid eye movement) deep dream sleep moments. With four kids (2 in college and 2 in their teens) a good night's sleep is not always easy or a practical reality.

I remember from the movie Fight Club (I love this movie) when Norton talks about his drug induced sleep (from pills), and compares that level of sleep to "real" rest. The natural state of relaxed and fulfilled nocturnal bliss. His brain and his life in chaos, worry, anxiety, and turmoil leading to his break with reality.

Is sleep just that important? I say a fast yes. Apparently The DOT (Department of Transportation) feels the same way, recently (December 2011) they changed the rules and regulations for a truck driver's hours of service. This is when and how often they (truck drivers) can drive a truck in any given week. They reduced the total weekly hours by 12. Going from 82 hours to 70 hours in total. This is a huge change to be implemented and enforced upon a work force based in results per hour. I predict more violations of the rules, the logging of hours, and unfortunately the number of crashes. When money (profits) are placed ahead of people (safety) no rules or laws are going to fix the (long term) problem.

I will talk further about the new rules and regulations in future blogs. Suffice it to say, sleepy, drowsy, and fatigued truck driving has led to so many fatal crashes that the DOT has finally acted.

Dr. Lawrence Newman
Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney at Law