We have become accustomed to living a fast pace life. We are continually trying to keep up with the business of life. For example, we strive to make it to appointments on time, complete specific tasks to meet a deadline or manage parenthood with young and energetic children. As we continue to live up to the expectations of our responsibilities and schedules, we get fatigued. To compound the problem, we often don’t get the proper sleep we need.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s latest study in 2107 concluded that 91,000 police-reported crashes involved drowsy drivers. Out of the 91,000, people were injured in 50,000 of those crashes, and 800 resulted with fatalities. They also reported accidents that involve drowsiness occurring more frequently between midnight and 6 am as well as in the afternoon. Why is that? Because the circadian rhythm is known as your internal clock that is a part of the hypothalamus. The internal clock cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. Adults commonly experience these cycles during these times because between midnight and 6 a.m., a time period when we people normally sleep. We become drowsy in the afternoon because we want to rest or nap after lunch, so it signals our body to release melatonin; thus, we become sleepy.
It is a false statement to conclude that driving tired or sleepy is safer than driving drunk. For example, an individual might be the designated driver when spending a night out with friends. If he is tired from a long, busy, hectic day without proper sleep the night before, even without drinking alcohol with his friend, he could very well be impaired and an unsafe designated driver. The reason for that is because the result of either driving intoxicated or driving sleepy is the same- impaired cognition and performance.