Missing Just 1-2 Hours of Sleep Can Double Your Risk of an Accident
We all know that sleep is important for our health. We feel better, eat smarter and make better choices when we get enough rest each night. Just today, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a report showing that drivers who sleep for only five to six hours in a 24-hour period are twice as likely to crash as drivers who get seven or more hours of sleep. [View Full Report]
Getting behind the wheel after a sleepless night is dangerous - to yourself and others. We’re reminded of our triathlon racing dilemma — pre-race jitters, resulting in a sleepless night, a 3am race day start (breakfast, transition zone setup, etc etc), followed by needing to drive home in time for work on Monday! Not ideal.
What’s more, the AAA found that the less sleep the driver gets, the higher the crash rate. For example, those in the study who got only four or five hours of shut-eye had FOUR times the crash rate — that’s close to what's seen among drunk drivers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in three Americans don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis. And, in addition to being dangerous in driving conditions, sleep deprivation has been linked to weight gain and depression.
A lot of us deal with a “racing brain” when it comes time to fall asleep. Too much on our mind or too much to do are just some reasons for that. (Check out GQ-6 rēküvr for some help falling asleep naturally, with the added bonus of repairing tired muscles - including your brain - while you sleep).
If you do find yourself getting sleepy while behind the wheel, Jake Nelson, director of Traffic Safety Advocacy & Research for AAA, has this tip for drivers: “If you’re feeling sleepy, stop and take a nap. Taking a 10 to 20 minute nap every couple of hours on a long drive has huge safety benefits in terms of your ability to drive without crashing.”.
Taking naps during the day can also help you make up for your sleep deficit — to a point. But overall, it’s much better to get the recommended 7-10 hours of sleep a night.
Related: 6 Tricks For Your Best Sleep Ever