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Experts Say Overnight Shift Can Lead to Sleep Deprivation

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Rochester: Experts Say Overnight Shift Can Lead to Sleep Deprivation
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The Genesee County Sheriff's Office says sleep deprivation may have played a role in a fatal accident that claimed the life of Batavia man. Sheriff's Deputies said Jonathan Colby, 37, was killed when the car he was riding in drifted into oncoming traffic. Investigators said Colby had recently started working an overnight shift and it's possible he may have fallen asleep behind the wheel.

Sleep deprivation is a problem that affects thousands of people. Experts and those who have worked these hours say adjusting your sleeping pattern takes time.

"My shift is 5:00pm to5:00am," said Marc Cohen.

As a Rural/Metro Ambulance Paramedic with 24 years of experience, Cohen knows it's important to come to work well rested.

"So being awake and being used to that shift, or what ever shift that you may be on, you’ve got to get used to it. It takes time," Cohen said.

It's a life style sleep experts say some people aren't cut out for.

"We're daytime beings. We’re meant to be up during the day and sleeping at night," said Dr. Donald Greenblatt, the Director of the Strong Sleep Disorders Center.

Greenblatt said those who have experience with an overnight shift need to be careful.

"People have to know when they're sleepy. Sleepiness is not really something you can fight off particularly when you’re an air traffic controller or operating a motor vehicle," said Greenblatt.

Getting behind the wheel when you're tired can have dangerous results.

"Probably 20 percent of serious motor vehicle accidents in this country are related to fatigue and sleep deprivation," Greenblatt said.

Greenblatt said no matter what hours you work it's important to keep to a consistent pattern.

"If you try and work nights four days a week and then sleep nights three days a week your body clock is always off and it's going to be difficult to function any day of the week," said Greenblatt.

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