09 Apr

Asleep at the Wheel

sleep apnea 3Do you doze off while driving? If so, you are not alone. You may be surprised to learn that thousands of drivers will nod off while driving each and every day. For some of those who fall asleep while driving, tragedy will happen. This can result in injury or death to the driver, passengers, or to others on the road. But there is good news for those who have this problem.

Generally speaking, dozing off behind the wheel is caused by not getting enough good, restful sleep during the night before. There are can be many reasons for people to suffer from poor sleep, from the medical condition known as narcolepsy to poor sleeping habits. Thankfully, there are ways to treat most of the sleeping disorders and sleeping problems.

For those who are driving drowsy, or even dozing off behind the wheel, you should know that you are not alone. This is actually a common occurrence. Even so, it is a very good sign that you are not getting the proper sleep at night, and something needs to be done about it before you have an accident. It only takes about 3 seconds of nodding off to cause an accident, and driving while you are drowsy is just as dangerous as it decreases your reaction time significantly.

One of the main causes for falling asleep while driving is sleep loss. There can be an number of reasons for a person to not fall asleep at night and sleep throughout the night. Stress and worry are just two. People need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, and many of us are getting far less than that.

Sleep disorders are another reason some people fail to get the rest they need. Most sleep disorders can be treated effectively once they are diagnosed. Some of the more common sleep disorders are narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, and sleep apnea. All of these can disrupt your sleep, leading to you feeling drowsy during the day.

Your biological clock may be off as well. This internal clock tells your body when it is time to sleep and when it is time to wake. Disruption of this clock can cause your sleep schedule to be out of sync with your daily life. Those who work shift jobs will often experience this problem.

Certain types of medications and use of alcohol can also lead to sleeping disorders. Alcohol is a known depressant and using it will increase sleepiness. Also, some types of medications may cause drowsiness which can make driving (or using machinery) dangerous.

As noted above, there are treatments available for those who are having trouble sleeping or staying awake while driving. Some of these may include medications, but most include changing certain lifestyle habits and learning skills that can lead to a more restful night of sleep. If you have noticed that you are nodding off while driving, do the responsible thing and have your condition checked out by a professional sleep disorder clinic.

 

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