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Sleep Apnea and Drowsy Driving: Learn the Facts

drowsy drivingYou haven’t been getting enough sleep lately, but you can’t let that interfere with your life. You have places to be and things to do, after all. So you get in your car and start driving, probably unaware that functioning on six hours of sleep or fewer per night triples your risk of getting into a car accident. Before you know it, you find yourself nodding off while you’re behind the wheel.Sound familiar? You’re certainly not alone. One in four drivers admit to driving while drowsy within the past month and 41% of Americans say they’ve actually fallen asleep while driving at least once in their lifetime.Considering these terrifying statistics, it’s not surprising to learn that drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 crashes, 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries on the road each year.To raise awareness of this important issue, the National Sleep Foundation has declared November 1-8 Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. As SoClean reported earlier this year, sleep apnea sufferers are 2.5 times more likely to be the driver in a car accident than those who don’t have this sleep disorder, so drowsy driving is an issue that is of particular concern to the sleep apnea community.This Drowsy Driving Week, we urge all of our readers to learn more about the drowsy driving epidemic. In fact, here’s an excellent infographic from the folks at CJ Pony Parts that contains tons of great information about this issue.

Wake up to the drowsy driving epidemic

Scary stuff, right? In honor of drowsy driving week, now is the perfect time to commit to taking more effective steps toward drowsy driving prevention. For those with sleep apnea, CPAP therapy has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of getting into a car crash. According to one study, motor vehicle accidents fell 70% among sleep apnea patients who underwent CPAP therapy for an average of four or more hours per night.

Here are some more drowsy driving prevention tips, courtesy of CJ Pony Parts and the National Sleep Foundation:
  • If you’ve been awake for 24 hours or more, don’t drive.
  • If you feel tired, drink something with caffeine, like coffee or tea. Then wait 30 minutes for it to kick in.
  • If you’re already on the road and you feel drowsy, find someplace safe to take a 15-20 minute nap.
Spread the word about drowsy driving by sharing this post with people you know who suffer from sleep apnea or other sleep disorders!