Your brain requires a certain amount of sleep in order to operate and function properly. If you get less sleep than your brain needs…then technically, you are considered sleep deprived. Each year, thousands of people (who have NOT gotten enough sleep) get behind the wheel of a car or other piece of heavy machinery and cause accidents. Not good. Driving while sleep deprived has become such a huge problem that an actual foundation was formed to bring awareness to the issue. The Drowsy Driver Program was formed by the National Sleep Foundation in order to educate people about the dangers of driving (or working with heavy machinery) on little to no sleep.
Consequences of Sleep Deprivation
If you don’t sleep well on a regular basis then you probably feel drained and downright awful. People who do not get enough sleep are, for lack of better words, running on an empty tank of gas. They have trouble doing basic, daily tasks as their minds are dull and their bodies unmotivated. What a horrible way to live! Sleeping poorly can really affect your life. Individuals that do not get enough sleep on a regular basis also……
- Age more rapidly
- Are irritable and not fun to be around (this can affect both your personal and work relationships)
- Become depressed more easily
- Develop an increase risk of heart disease and obesity (great…fat, tired and sick…not good!!)
- Become sick more easily (due to a worn down immune system)
- Have trouble dealing with stress
- Forget things
- Develop a lack of concentration and decision making skills begin to decline
If you are sleep deprived it is very important that you examine your life style in order to figure out why you are not getting enough rest. Are you working too much? Staying out too late? Or can you simply NOT fall asleep due to stress or a possible medical condition? Whatever the cause may be, it is important that you confront the issue immediately as I promise you…sleep deprivation and all of the problems associated with it WILL EVENTUALLY CATCH UP WITH YOU!
Go to Bed! Recognizing When You are Tired!
When you are tired and your body has had enough…trust me, it will tell you! Recognizing sleep deprivation isn’t difficult. Your brain has several ways of letting you know that enough is enough…time for bed! LISTEN to your brain! Sleep is a necessary and important part of life. In order for your brain and body to recharge…you must sleep at least six to eight hours per night! Let your body do its’ job…and go to bed! If you have a sleep disorder that is making sleep difficult or impossible…well, that is a different story and will be discussed in another post (so be sure to come back soon!). In the meantime, go take a nap!
Signs That You are Tired or too Tired to Drive
- Yawning and rubbing of the eyes
- You can’t keep your head up (droopy head)
- You can’t keep your eyes open
- You are in a daze while driving and miss your exit…or worse, can’t remember driving for the past few minutes
- Constant blinking, droopy eyes
- While driving you are startled by the sound of your car hitting the rumble strips that are located on the side of the road
It is important to note that if you are driving…and realize that you are tired…PLEASE pull over! Call a friend or family member to come get you. After all, it is YOUR LIFE we are talking about here. Not to mention you are dangerous to OTHER DRIVERS as well!!!