Drowsy Driving

What Is Drowsiness?

Your body requires three things; water, food and sleep. You can choose not to drink water or eat. Your body’s need for sleep is so strong, that you can try not to sleep, but your brain eventually make your body sleep, no matter what you are doing at the time.

Several factors can cause drowsiness: body clock, exposure to daylight/darkness and how long you have been awake.

Your body’s internal clock (called circadian rhythm) signals you to be sleepy. The cycle of darkness and sunlight also affects our internal clock. In addition, the length of time we stay awake can increase our need for sleep.

Although each person’s sleep needs and patterns vary, most adults require 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night. Not getting enough sleep night after night will create sleep debt.

The longer you try to stay awake or the more nights you get poor or not enough sleep, the greater the effect on your mental and physical abilities.

Poor sleep quality or not getting enough sleep, causes excessive sleepiness and reduces your alertness and performance.

You may also have a difficult time paying attention and your memory and coordination are weaker. Many times people who are drowsy don’t realize that they have these symptoms, making drowsiness that much more dangerous.

The effects of drowsiness are just like the effects of drinking alcohol. In many states a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 is the legal limit for alcohol.

A 1997 research study found that being awake for 18 hours produced impairment equal to a BAC of .05. After no sleep for 24 hours, it jumps to .10. Drowsiness can impair your ability to drive safely.

Most American adults do not get the recommended 7-9 hours of restful sleep. One study found 64% get less than 8 hours and 32% get six hours or less.

Whether you are severely drowsy occasionally or you’re sleepy all the time, the consequences can be fatal.

Sleep Center