"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Awake, alert, and alive: Is two hours of sleep enough?

On the morning of August 10, 2008, no sooner had the sun's rays lit up the sky than two people's lives modified perpetually. Nineteen-year-old Candy Lynn Baldwin was on her way home after being up most of yesterday and night. She fell asleep while crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. His automotive flipped over the median and collided with a semi truck. It crashed into the bay killing its driver.

Ms. Baldwin suffered non-life-threatening injuries, but can have to live along with her crime for the remaining of her life. The driver, John Short, became one among the greater than 6,000 individuals who die every year consequently of drowsy driving. He joins an unlucky list that features comedian Tracy Morgan's Limousine Driver (hit by a truck whose driver had been asleep for twenty-four hours) and Maggie McDonnell (hit by a truck driver who was 30 was awake for hours). Ms. McDonnell's death has since inspired “Maggie's Law,” which makes it illegal in New Jersey to drive because of intentional sleep deprivation.

How low are you able to (technically) go?

Most likely, everyone has driven while sleepy at the least once. But how much sleep do you actually need before driving is unquestionably unsafe? Recently, the National Sleep Foundation, A panel convened to reply this query, in consultation with experts from the sleep medicine and transportation industries. This is an advanced one because there are a lot of other aspects besides sleep duration that determine one's sleep level. For example, a considerable amount of pre-existing “sleep debt” will exacerbate the consequences of severe sleep deprivation. Also, the time of day makes a difference. At night, your natural body clock (circadian rhythm) is about to “sleep” and subsequently the decline in alertness from severe sleep loss shall be worse than in the course of the day. This is the rationale why drowsy driving accidents occur mostly at night. And after all, the standard of 1's sleep could be very vital – which is why, for instance, attempting to repay your sleep debt with a motel room next to railroad tracks is ill-advised!

After considering all these issues and the available evidence, the panel concluded that if the driving force's impairment was certain Less than two hours of sleep In the last 24 hours.

Putting drowsy driving into perspective

Are there ways to cut back the consequences of sleep deprivation on driving performance? Stimulants comparable to caffeine can reduce sleepiness within the short term, but not indefinitely. Other commonly used methods have been shown to be ineffective. For example, turning up the amount on the radio and opening the automotive window are each useless. Additionally, even if you happen to don't get enough sleep, you may still be weak due to the poor correlation between sleep and performance. Only sleep can reverse the consequences of lack of sleep!

Drowsy driving is a major public health risk within the United States. According to an estimate by the Institute of Medicine, as much as 20% of all motorized vehicle accidents are related to drowsy driving. This signifies that drowsy driving causes greater than 1 million accidents yearly. And the actual number could also be much higher because drowsy driving is usually underreported.

The only cure is for people to not drive without adequate sleep. Two hours stands out as the lower limit, but you shouldn't be fooled into considering it's protected even if you happen to sleep longer. Bottom line: “Sleep deprived? Don't drive.”