It is estimated that 37% of the U.S. workforce does not get enough sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, in the U.S. alone, there are 64,000 deaths and 50,000 injuries a year as a result of drowsy driving. We need proper sleep to recharge our stamina, face the day and avoid injuries at home and at work. It is important to know the risk factors and how to avoid them. 

To be alert, well-rested and at your best, follow these tips:

  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep every day.
  • Create and follow a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day –even on weekends.
  • Eliminate unnecessary light.
  • Keep your bedroom temperate – neither hot nor cold.
  • Make sure your bed and pillows are comfortable and support restful sleep.
  • Avoid eating right before bed.
  • Remember that bedtime is for sleeping, not reading or watching TV.
  • Avoid using electronic devices before bed which can inhibit sleep.

Know the Dangers of Sleep Deprivation:

  • Lack of sleep can lead you to experience short bursts of sleep lasting anywhere from a fraction of a second or up to 30 seconds, known as microsleep. Individuals who experience microsleep lose awareness and consciousness during the episode, this can be especially dangerous on the road or while operating any kind of machinery.
  • Lack of sleep has also been shown to raise the risks of depression, obesity and heart disease and has an adverse effect on reproductive health.

In the case of Fatigue follow these tips:

  • Plan to take regular rest breaks and rotate drivers when travelling long distances.
  • Avoid alcohol and medications that may make you drowsy while driving.
  • If you feel drowsy, pull over when it is safe to do so.
  • To combat drowsiness, have a cup of coffee or a caffeinated drink and stretch your legs by taking a short walk.
  • If you need more rest, take a quick nap if it is safe to do so.
  • If you are too tired to continue driving even after a break, don’t drive. Stay at a hotel or call someone-a loved one, friend or even a cab or ride-sharing service- to get you to your destination safely.

Don’t get sidelined by fatigue. Get plenty of sleep to recharge and stay healthy and avoid dangerous situations like driving or operating machinery when drowsy.

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