Did you know that this week is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week? The National Sleep Foundation is urging everyone to take the Pledge Against Drowsy Driving. They’ve partnered with us to share the Pledge and tips to help keep you more alert on the road.
Dangers of Drowsy Driving
We all know about the dangers of drunk driving. We know that texting and driving is dangerous. We know that we shouldn’t “operate heavy machinery” after taking new medications. Drowsy driving, though? To many, it’s no big deal.
It is a big deal. Think about how you feel when you’re drowsy. If you’re like me, you feel slow and sluggish. Barely able to keep your eyes open. Your limbs feel heavy, your head wants to fall back onto your pillow.
Imagine that feeling as you’re barreling down the highway at 55+ miles per hour. Miles of darkness punctuated by white dashes and red brake lights. Are you ready to curl up for a nap? I know I am! If you were driving right now, though, that feeling could be incredibly dangerous.
So many of us are guilty of drowsy driving. I was a nursing student when my son was a toddler. He wasn’t a good sleeper back then. I would struggle to get him to bed, finally falling asleep around midnight. Then I’d be out the door at 5AM to drive 30 minutes away for clinicals. I am the type of person that needs a solid 9 hours to feel fully functional. Some days, I’d arrive at my destination with no memory of the drive.
Tips to avoid Drowsy Driving & Get a Good Night Sleep
I’ve done a lot of sleep research in my life. It’s one of my favorite subjects, and not just because I adore sleeping! For a year straight, I read every single book on the sleep cycle I could find. That was before the internet. In recent years, the National Sleep Foundation has been my go-to source for the best information. Take a look at a few tips for getting a good night sleep that I’ve learned from them.
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. While their first tip is to stick to a routine, that’s a bit harder for me. I do, however, have a relaxing bedtime routine. It’s not so much about what I do BEFORE I get into bed as what I do once I’m IN bed. I have anxiety disorder, so my mind will wander all over the place if I let it. Every night before bed, I imagine that I’ve won the big lottery. Then I dream of what I would do with the money, starting with the people I would help. I find that thinking about helping others reminds me to be grateful for what I have and puts me in a great mood before bed.
- Evaluate your room. One thing I did years ago: get rid of all the electronics except for my alarm clock. I’m even thinking of going old-school on that! Your bedroom should be relaxing, filled with warm, cozy things that bring you piece. Get the television out of there!
- Invest in a good mattress and pillow. Right now, I don’t have the best mattress. Not much I can do about that until my budget improves. It was great ten years ago, but has since worn down. I do have several awesome pillows that I rotate. If you have the funds, get a really stellar mattress. If you don’t, at least get a great pillow that supports your neck and head.
When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, one tip doesn’t fit all. You have to establish a routine that works best for you. The goal is to wake up feeling rested and keep that energized feeling until your safely back home.
Please, take the Pledge Against Drowsy Driving. It’s so important to the health and safety of you and your family. It would mean a lot to us. YOU mean a lot to us!
Did you take the pledge? What tips do you have to prevent drowsy driving?