The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) is urging all those experiencing drowsiness as a result of the frenetic pace of the season to avoid getting behind the wheel.
“The holiday season has traditionally been associated with activities such as shopping, parties, and cooking. Engaging in these activities can lead to sleep deprivation and consequently make our roads a dangerous place to be,” said Michael H. Silber, MBChB, AASM president and professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic. “Despite an insufficient amount of sleep, people get behind the wheel, unaware that, by doing so, they are putting their lives and others in great danger.”
According to the AASM, the following are ways people can avoid becoming drowsy while driving:
• Get enough sleep. AASM recommends that adults get seven-to-eight hours of sleep each night in order to maintain good health and optimum performance.
• Take breaks while driving. If you become drowsy while driving, pull off to a rest area and take a short nap, preferably 15-20 minutes in length.
• Consume caffeine. Caffeine improves alertness in people who are fatigued.
• Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol can further impair a person’s ability to stay awake and make good decisions. Taking the wheel after having just one glass of alcohol can affect your level of fatigue while driving.
• Do not drive late at night. Avoid driving after midnight, which is a natural period of sleepiness.