The state's health secretary comments on lawmakers 24-hour session

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The 24-hour session prompted the state's health secretary to comment on how lawmakers may not be in the best frame of mind for decision making.

State lawmakers pulled an all-nighter leading up to their vote on a bill related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While not commenting on the political action, Stormont Vail Behavioral Health therapist, Heidi Pritchard says there's no debate, staying awake too long takes a toll.

"Making life-changing decisions with lack of sleep is going to create issues and maybe it's not always going to be the best decision," therapist Heidi Pritchard with Stormont Vail Behavioral Health said.

KDHE Secretary Dr. Lee Norman posted a tweet Friday morning stating, "it has been shown that after being on call and awake for 24 hours, mental processes and cognition are as impaired as when one is about the legal blood alcohol limit. Not the best time for decision-making."

"We are going to be more impulsive and more reactive," Pritchard agreed to Dr. Norman's statement. "That lack of sleep will then fire up, which is the limbic system which is where we are fight, flight, or freeze. That part of our brain is necessary, but we're not meant to live back there, it's really kind of a lousy place to make life-changing decisions."

Pritchard says people need the right amount of sleep, "Sleep hygiene is very important, because that's definitely going to affect decision-making and health and behavior."

"Quite frankly if it goes on for a long periods of time it will cause psychotic systems," she added.

She says both stress, like from the current COVID-19 situation, and physical issues can interfere with sleep.

"If there anxious and sort of on that hamster wheel in their brain all night long worrying about COVID or worrying about," Pritchard explained. "If it sleep apnea or something like that, then we have a department for that as well."

If you are having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor, who can refer you for the right kind of help.