You know how you feel when you don’t get enough shut-eye – fuzzy thinking, poor focus and concentration, slow reaction time.
Driver fatigue itself is behind over a million car accidents in the U.S.
Memory suffers, spatial orientation is off, and your ability to make decisions falters all from staying awake more than 18 hours in a row.
Once you have been awake for many hours in a row, your brain will try to take over, turning on a “sleep switch” – and you are not in control of when that happens! Hopefully you will not be on the road.
Of course those effects are multiplied when you accumulate a deficit over many nights. When you have too little sleep for several nights in a row, the sleep deficit can build to the point where your brain experiences the same impact as if it had been awake for 24 hours – having the same effect as being drunk. Bad judgement, slow reaction time, problem solving challenges.
If you don’t get enough sleep, you are not alone. There are the managers and other professionals working 80-hour weeks to get ahead, or taking red-eye flights to make an 8:00 AM meeting in another city.
I don’t even want to think about how much sleep some of the truck drivers get out there on the road in their big rigs…
But there are lots of people out there endangering themselves and others by short-changing their shut-eye!
I got on a Super Shuttle to get a ride home from the airport late in the evening a few months ago, only to discover my driver had been driving for the last 15 hours! It was a scary trip up the mountain in the dark…
Getting a good 7-8 hours of sleep each night will help you keep your learning, concentration and memory sharp.
And if you are unable to get consecutive sleep, try taking a power nap – even a few minutes of sleep during the day can boost your alertness and help improve your memory.