Did you know that each year 6000 fatal car crashes are linked to drowsy driving? (Johns Hopkins)
The following are signs and symptoms of drowsy driving (sleepfoundation.org):
- Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
- Daydreaming; wandering/disconnected thoughts
- Trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs
- Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes
- Trouble keeping your head up
- Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip
- Feeling restless and irritable
If you are driving and experience even a couple of these signs, pull over and take a rest.
Do you often get tired when you drive?
If you know that your sleep deprivation is chronic, consider why. You may have severe insomnia or sleep apnea. Many men and women don’t realize that sleep disorders are more than just a nuisance. They can be life-threatening.
Insomina or sleep apnea?
Though both insomina and sleep apnea can cause sleep deprivation that can lead to drowsy driving, they are two distinct disorders.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder where individuals may have a hard time falling asleep and/or staying asleep throughout the night. It is often related to depression, anxiety, poor sleep habits, certain medications, or chronic illness. Insomnia is largely linked to psychological issues.
Sleep apnea is a potentially health-threatening condition in which your breathing periodically stops while you sleep. There are three different types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea describes a condition where your throat muscles relax. Central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to control your breathing. The final type is called complex sleep apnea syndrome. This type occurs when someone has a combination of the two previously listed.
The good news is that both insomnia and sleep apnea can be treated. Treatment options for people suffering from sleep apnea include:
- Oral appliance therapy with a customized sleep appliance
- CPAP machine
- Sleep clinics/sleep therapy
- Lifestyle changes like exercising more and eating a healthier diet
Houston Sleep Solutions offers a non-invasive alternative to CPAP treatment for sleep apnea. Contact us at the number below to schedule a consultation.
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