How Too Little Sleep Can Kill You
By Doctor Seibel – Are you so tired that you’re irritable, having trouble focusing, finding it hard to make it through the day?
For 70 million American adults, too little sleep has become a way of life that is contributing to an increase of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. I’ll write more about these in other blogs.
But for this posting, I want to tell you about one of the hazards of too little sleep that is the most lethal of all: falling asleep at the wheel.
A study by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) which was a collaboration between the CDC and the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research found that 4.7% of Americans reported nodding off or falling asleep while driving at least once in the preceding month. That’s 1 in 20 drivers across the country falling asleep at the wheel one or more times within a month. Considering all the traffic we drive in daily, that’s pretty scary. Those drivers who inch right up into your trunk, weave around the road or demonstrate road rage may not be intoxicated; they could be exhibiting drowsy driving. That’s why 1,500 people die each year from drowsy driving and 40,000 more have non-fatal injuries.
Studies show that the risks of driving while too tired are equivalent to driving while intoxicated. If you find your eyes getting heavy, or you can’t remember what happened over the last few exits, or you find yourself opening the window for more air or turning up the radio, listen to your body.
Find a safe place to pull over and either rest a few minutes or take a short stretch. Doing this every 100 miles or every two hours is a great idea in general. Driving during the day and avoiding those marathon all night drives is another great way to stay safe. Having a buddy drive with you to help you stay awake can save your life. Remember, driving a two-ton vehicle at 60 or more miles per hour, you might only get one chance to fall asleep at the wheel.
Find out if you are getting enough sleep. Get instant access to a FREE SLEEP DIARY by going to my website at http://www.doctorseibel.com/sleep/.
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