How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Driving – And What to Do About It

Not getting enough sleep can have a huge impact on health and the way we perform our normal daily activities. A lack of sleep can reduce our ability to remember details, to concentrate, to coordinate, and it has also been shown to increase our appetite. 

Sleep deprivation can also have a huge impact on our driving ability. Studies around the world have suggested that between 16 – 60% of all road accidents could be due to lack of sleep, with over 250,000 drivers in the U.S. falling asleep at the wheel every year. 

While most people are aware of the dangers that come with drink driving, they don’t realize that driving while drowsy can be just as fatal. In actual fact, evidence has shown that sleep deprivation can have just as much impact on the human brain and its ability to function as alcohol.  

Like alcohol, sleep deprivation decreases awareness, slows reaction times, impairs judgment and increases your chances of crashing.  So, to help you drive safely, we’ve come up with some tips to help you avoid sleep deprivation:

 

  • Get a Good Night’s Sleep

 

This one might sound obvious, but it’s often easier said than done. Many of us struggle to get the recommended 6-8 hours of sleep at night. Whether you suffer from pain, are dealing with stress or have an uncomfortable mattress, there are ways you can increase your chances of getting a better night’s sleep.

The first thing you need to do is to make your bedroom into a sleep haven. Nobody wants to go to sleep in a dirty un-cared for environment. Why not consider re-decorating your bedroom to make it a more relaxing and enjoyable place? If you can’t afford to re-decorate, then a simple de-clutter and tidy up might help. Research has shown that people are much more likely to relax and go to sleep in a tidy room than they are in a messy one. 

Another brilliant way to get a good night’s sleep is to purchase a new mattress. Choose a mattress that provides you with the support you need but is also comfortable to sleep on. Why not find the best bed in a box that works for you? These beds are not only convenient, but they are also of high quality.  

Getting a good night’s sleep is the key to avoiding sleep deprivation. The more unbroken sleep you get at night, the less chance of you suffering from sleep deprivation while you’re driving. 

 

  • Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

 

If you want to get a good night’s sleep, then it’s a good idea to cut back on the late-night caffeine drinks. Consuming caffeine in an evening can have a huge impact on the amount of sleep you get at night. If you don’t want to cut out your caffeine drinks completely, then consider enjoying them in the morning instead. 

 

  • Exercise

 

Exercising is a brilliant way for you to get rid of any excess energy you may have before going to bed. A number of studies have suggested that people who suffer from sleep deprivation can improve their quality of sleep by exercising. Exercising can also help you to relax and unwind. 

 

  • Turn Off Technology

 

The constant sound of messages, notifications, and emails coming through to our mobile phones and other devices can stop us from relaxing and switching off at night. It’s a good idea to turn off any technology before going to bed, or even better, place it in another room. Removing this distraction can help you get a better night’s sleep. 

If you’re worried about suffering from sleep deprivation while you’re driving, then give some of our top tips a try. Being sleep deprived while driving can be just as deadly as driving while drunk. So, if you feel tired, it’s a good idea to avoid driving your car. 

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Emily Muelford

Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.

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Emily Muelford
Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.