Sleep is a natural drive that can overtake even the fastest driver. So when next you are feeling drowsy on the wheels, do not take it for granted. You might be wondering what sleep has got to do with driving. You are about to find out. In this article, we would be discussing how sleep can affect driving.
So, Is There Any Correlation Between Sleep And Driving? Yes, there is. Drowsiness as a result of lack of proper sleep can have the same effect on driving as with alcohol. Though driving in this state may seem harmless, there are serious consequences. You could fall asleep on the wheel and get into an accident, harming yourself as well as others.
Best Practices To Prevent Falling Asleep While Driving
Feeling sleeping while on the wheel can be attributed to several reasons. Some of the causes of drowsiness while driving are:
- Lack of proper sleep. A large proportion of adults do not get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night. As a result, they suffer from what is called sleep deprivation.
- Sleep disorders can lead to sleep disruptions or sleep fragmentation, resulting in a lack of quality sleep and accumulated sleep deprivation. Excessive daytime sleepiness can also be as a result of a sleep disorder.
- Job condition. People that work extended shifts jobs or working longer hours, as well as those working on more than one job, are more prone to experience drowsiness.
- Nature. Our brain naturally regulates the body to sleep at a particular time, especially at mid-day and night. So, driving at these periods can result in drowsiness while driving.
To avoid drowsiness while driving, ensure you get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel. Here are few tips to ensure you are getting the required sleep:
- Ensure you sleep for the recommended number of hours every night. Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
- Sleep in a quiet and comfortable environment, free from any distractions that would affect your sleep patterns.
- Use a good mattress and pillow. The quality of your mattress would affect the quality of your sleep. Use mattresses and pillows that ensure comfortability while sleeping.
- Avoid eating heavy meals before you go to bed
- Avoid taking caffeine and alcohol within 4 to 5 hours of going to bed.
What Can You Do When You Are Feeling Drowsy While Driving?
It is okay to feel drowsy while driving but it is not okay to keep driving while drowsy. 60% of individuals in the world have experienced drowsiness while driving and struggle to stay awake while behind the wheel.
Some of the signs indicating that you are feeling drowsy are; having difficulty focusing, yawning constantly, heavy eyelids, drifting from your lanes.
At the point when you start to notice these signs, you shouldn’t take it for granted as nature might have its way and it eventually results in serious consequences.
In this state, some of the things you can do are:
- If you can, pull over and take a nap for at least 20 minutes.
- Buy a drink with caffeine, coffee preferably. This drink would help you stay alert for a while.
- If you have someone else with you in the car, you can ask them to take the wheel while you get some rest.
- If there is someone else with you in the car who probably can’t drive, engage in a lively conversation with them. It would help you stay awake.
- Listen to lively music that would keep you awake.
- Listen to comedies, you cannot fall asleep while laughing.
- Pay attention to your posture, do not keep your eyes straight ahead and avoid slouching as it aids fatigue and drowsiness.
How To Prevent Sleep Fragmentation And Insomnia?
Sleep fragmentation is basically when you have short sleep intervals. You have repeated sleep interruptions all through the night. This sleep pattern leads to extreme tiredness during the day.
People with fragmented sleep usually fall asleep on time but wake up several times through the night. Sleep fragmentation is often one of the symptoms of sleep disorders like sleep apnea or narcolepsy.
Also, experiencing body ache or pain can result in sleep fragmentation as the pain might cause you to wake up intermittently during the night. Another thing that can cause sleep fragmentation is snoring.
The major effect of sleep fragmentation is excessive fatigue throughout the day. Sleep fragmentation can also result in unhealthy weight gain and mood disorder.
To know if you are experiencing sleep fragmentation, you can use sleep trackers to help you determine how often you wake up between sleep and for how long.
Along with the help of a sleep physician, this would help you determine if you are suffering from sleep fragmentation or something else.
If your sleep fragmentation is a result of a sleep disorder, then the treatment involves treating the underlying sleep disorder. Sleep physicians also recommend the following to help treat sleep fragmentation:
- Go to bed and wake up at approximately the same time every day
- Avoid using electronic gadgets like phones and laptops an hour before your bedtime.
- Sleep in a comfortable, cool, quiet, and dark environment.
- Physicians also recommend supplements like melatonin and valerian to help reduce sleep fragmentation
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy, sleep restriction therapy, and relaxation training can help in treating fragmented sleep.
On the other hand, insomnia is having difficulties falling asleep. Some of the common effects attributed to insomnia are mood swings, low energy, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating at work or in school.
Insomnia can be caused by physical or psychological factors. Also, a snoring partner, pregnancy, parasite, or genetic condition can cause insomnia.
Sleep is very essential for the proper functioning of the human body. It helps to revitalize and strengthen the human body. Sleep is very crucial and sleep deprivation shouldn’t be encouraged.