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Please Maintain Healthy Sleeping Habits

sleeping habits

Every year, my schedule gets crazy the week(s) before Christmas. I do everything I can to plan for all the holiday stuff — shopping, events, gift wrapping, — in addition to my usual daily tasks. Inevitably, I find myself cutting into my precious sleep time at least the night (if not two or more nights) before I make the three-hour drive to my parents’ house for Christmas.

This year, I’m rethinking my habit.

new study shows that driving while sleep-deprived has a significant negative effect on our ability to drive safely. Previous research has shown drowsy drivers contribute to 13 percent of all car crashes that result in hospital admission and 16 to 21 percent of all fatal car crashes.

In this study, drivers who slept for as little as two hours less than usual had three times the odds of contributing to a car crash.

Drivers who reported regularly sleeping for relatively few hours were at an even higher risk.

Those who normally sleep between four and five hours a night have 5.4 times the odds of contributing to a crash, the study shows. Compared with someone who usually sleeps for at least seven hours, this increased risk is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol level slightly above the legal limit of 0.08. Even worse: “The increase in crash rate associated with driving after less than four hours of sleep is much greater,” the study says.

I’m right there with the masses who lose sleep this time of year, but we can all completely avoid being drowsy drivers by simply maintaining healthy sleeping habits. I cannot stress the importance of this enough: Make time for yourself to get enough sleep this season and always. Sleep is so important for your safety, your family’s safety and your fellow drivers’ safety.

There are so many extra things going on this time of year, and it seems like the only way to make it all happen — short of skipping the holidays altogether — is to sleep less. But that may only make your situation worse. Find another way. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be cranky and functioning at a lower level trying to get more done the next day than you would if you had gotten enough sleep in the first place.

In contrast — I’m telling you this extremely cautiously optimistically — the study provides one reason to breathe easy. Drivers who reported having slept for up to one hour less than usual did not see an increased risk relative to drivers who slept the same amount as usual. Though I don’t encourage taking advantage of this little bit of wiggle room, I’m glad to know the cushion is there should it become absolutely necessary … for a serious emergency reason.

Please, please, please, for everyone’s safety, please try to continue to get enough sleep to function and drive safely. I know I will make sure I get plenty of sleep before making this year’s drive home for the holidays. Megan

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5 Comments
  1. Cathe says:

    Yes. I agree this, we should need proper sleep while driving and not only driving, always it will make you fresh, energetic and happy. And you can do all your regular tasks. happy sleeping 🙂

  2. Ethel says:

    I think this happens not only during the holiday season. During everyday life, some of us are so tired that we even forget to eat, drink, take a bath and even drive. Of course, this happens in worst case scenarios. We have to pay more attention to the signals of sleep deprivation: constant famine, weight gain, impulsiveness, short memory, split emotions, getting sick often, having trouble seeing and skin problems.

  3. Nice article. Very informative. Often we forget our childhood habits, early to bed early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy & wise. In today’s very competitive world, we must maintain a good sleeping along with eating habits for success.

  4. Mustapha says:

    This is really an excellent post you have shared, thank you and keep up the good work.

  5. No matter what, I always want people to be alert when driving, sleeping while driving is extremely dangerous for you and for others. Keep the most comfortable mood when you are ready to drive. Get enough sleep with healthy health.