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Old 09-04-08, 01:01 PM   #1
MrCrassic 
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Drowsy Driving

Hey, all.

Since I've started driving long-distances, I've been having a very serious problem that is compromising my safety and others on the road. While driving, I would get incredibly drowsy, almost to the point of sleeping while driving. When I stop driving, the drowsiness would immediately subside.

Eating crap food (like chocolate bars and drinks with a lot of sugar) helps alleviate this somewhat, but I don't want to keep doing this to my body (though today I ate a Fiber One bar and that did me good). Coffee helps a little, but fails in the long run (unless Dunkin' Donuts coffee is weak sauce). The drowsiness also subsides when I turn on the heater, full blast, but only works for a few seconds at best.

Does anyone else have this problem?
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Old 09-04-08, 01:04 PM   #2
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get more sleep.
And don't eat the carbs. The sugar rush is followed by a crash. Which is drowsiness.

moderate proteins and fats.... Trail mix, nuts, jerky...
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Old 09-04-08, 01:07 PM   #3
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I get five to six hours of sleep every weekday, and try to make up for that on the weekends.

I will definitely try using low-carb snacks while driving. I pull a lot of mileage, especially around this time (century time!), so I can use all of the (simple) carbs I can get!
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Old 09-04-08, 01:15 PM   #4
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Unfortunately, five to six hours of sleep is not enough for most bodies (though it is pretty close to what the average American gets). The US is one of the more "under slept" countries in the world, and "the scientists" (whoever they may be) are now beginning to show that this lack of sleep has some pretty serious side effects, both health related, and awareness/alertness related.

Whats funny is that too much sleep is also not a good thing. Studies have shown that those who get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, live longer, and are more healthy. Less than 7 hours has been shown to lead to various health issues, and longer than 9 hours has been linked with shorter life expectancy.
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Old 09-04-08, 01:15 PM   #5
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^^^ What he said.....
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Old 09-04-08, 01:16 PM   #6
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I usually strive for seven hours. A report I read a few months ago suggested that seven hours of sleep is most optimal for athletes and natural recovery.

On the weekend, I can't sleep past nine hours.
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Old 09-04-08, 01:16 PM   #7
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my understanding is that caffeine just tricks your body into being more alert- but your reaction and processes are still slowed.

Unfortunately there isn't a substitute besides good old-fashioned sleep-
having company along always helps. If thats not possible, maybe getting a headset so you can chat on your cellphone might be helpful?

I find I have that issue when I'm wearing my glasses. Its like tunnelvision and the dotted lines are hipnotizing... that said, the dotted lines are hypnotizing to anyone especially when tired. it helps to focus on whats ahead of you/horizion, and make sure they arent pulling you in.
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Old 09-04-08, 01:17 PM   #8
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I've had the problem while using contacts as well.
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Old 09-04-08, 01:20 PM   #9
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Same crap happens to me which is why i detest driving into work these days. Sleeping on the train then biking the rest of the way FTW.

That being said, one of the best ways to stay awake while driving is to eat. Bring some peanuts or crackers to nibble on gradually. My theory is that it keeps the blood flowing to your head.

I'd love to get 8 hours of sleep every night but that would mean going to bed at 7 or 8pm and i get home from work at about 4 or 5pm which means very very little R&R time during the weekdays.
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Old 09-04-08, 01:23 PM   #10
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I'd love to get 8 hours of sleep every night but that would mean going to bed at 7 or 8pm and i get home from work at about 4 or 5pm which means very very little R&R time during the weekdays.
pay now or later....
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Old 09-04-08, 01:28 PM   #11
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I'll just declare bankruptcy later and make it all disappear.
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A girl once asked me to give her twelve inches and make it hurt. I had to make love to her 3 times and then punch her in the nose.
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Old 09-04-08, 01:36 PM   #12
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Tom would know about this. He used to drive long distances in his big truck.
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Old 09-04-08, 01:37 PM   #13
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tom would know about this. He used to drive long distances in his big truck.
+1
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Old 09-04-08, 01:38 PM   #14
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My situation is similar. I normally don't get home until anytime between 7pm and 9pm, and to get proper sleep would involve me going to bed at 10:30pm. Coupled with this issue of not getting off of the computer at 10:30pm (or something coming up), it gets tough, but I have to work on it.

When I'm driving, I intentionally postpone my trip back because traffic is always bad anytime after 5pm until at least 9 or 10, and I'm not confident that my car can handle traffic well right now.
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Old 09-04-08, 02:17 PM   #15
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MC, you should get checked out. There are many reasons (not just getting only 5 hours/night, although that has to hurt) why you're getting so drowsy. You're in NY- look around for a sleep specialist. In the meantime, read this.
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Old 09-04-08, 02:26 PM   #16
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Just imagine jsharr is sitting in the passenger seat next to you. You really don't want to fall asleep when jsharr is around. Bad things will happen.
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Old 09-04-08, 02:37 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psydotek View Post
That being said, one of the best ways to stay awake while driving is to eat. Bring some peanuts or crackers to nibble on gradually. My theory is that it keeps the blood flowing to your head.
+1.... grab a big ol' bag of sunflower seeds, a large empty cup, and you'll be entertained for hours. Or at least until your cheek/gums start bleeding.

If you go the coffee route, get the strongest cup you can. If it doesn't make you pucker a bit, it's not strong enough for driving. I'm not an energy drink consumer very often, but it can help. Best I've tried is Syzmo, which is sweetened with agave syrup (less sugar spike/crash affect) and has a more mild blend of caffeine/vitamins. Good stuff and kept me awake.
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Old 09-04-08, 02:38 PM   #18
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Monster energy drinks are my friend whenever I drive long distances
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Old 09-04-08, 02:42 PM   #19
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I drive a patrol car all night long, and often don't get enough sleep during the day. I have also done a bit of marathon driving when on vacation. Solutions include frequent stops to stretch the legs and/or go on a short walk or run, avoiding sugary food and drinks, and avoiding certain types of music on the radio. Ultimately, though, there is no substitute for sleep. Better to miss a day of a seminar, as I have, and arrive alive, than not get there due to a crash.

Keep caffeine use moderate. Large does of caffeine affect different people in different ways, but it is amazing how "awake" you can be and still do stupid things that endanger people. Then, the "crash" of coming down off a sugary or caffeinated drink/snack can be scary dangerous.

Regarding listening material, music choice can affect things. Slow or jazzy stuff can be a terrible choice. A spirited talk show or an interesting book on tape/CD can be a much better choice, but it will take discipline to keep one's attention on the road.

Always keep scanning. Don't fixate on the road. Scan left, center, right, center, up, center, near, far, etc. That tends to stop the mesmerizing effect of watching the center stripe or white lines.

OK, puppies have pee-peed and run around the back yard a bit. Time for me to get more sleep myself. The job "runneth-ed over" this morning, and I got home four hours late.
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Old 09-04-08, 02:43 PM   #20
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Years ago I read that it's impossible to fall asleep while chewing, so to keep from falling asleep while driving chewing gum was recommended. In all the driving I've done, when I think I may have to deal with drowsiness, I chew gum. I've never fallen asleep while chewing gum & driving. I have fallen asleep w/o the gum.

Also, as mentioned above, audio books make a huge difference with staying awake. Just be sure to choose a book with subject matter you are interested in, and a reader who won't put you to sleep.
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Old 09-04-08, 02:49 PM   #21
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Yeap, for listening material, the stuff that's going to keep you awake is something unfamiliar. Listening to that CD that you've already heard 100 times isn't going to keep you awake regardless of how energetic the music is.

I'll usually switch to a radio station that i don't listen to much or sometimes even a news station.
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Old 09-04-08, 02:55 PM   #22
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This is great advice! I will try most of this on my way back home in a few hours.

As far as the sleeping issue is concerned, I will definitely find a way to look into that. I have another symptom that's listed on there that warrants an investigation into this.

Thank you so much, everyone!
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Old 09-04-08, 03:07 PM   #23
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Quote:
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, and longer than 9 hours has been linked with shorter life expectancy.
Well, I guess I can expect to die anytime then....

I get around 9 hours of sleep on the weekdays and anywhere from 12-18 hours of sleep on the weekends. Yes, that is correct. I can sleep for 18 hours. My parent's thought I was dead.
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Old 09-04-08, 05:19 PM   #24
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I've found that caffeine doesn't help much but drinking so very much coffee that I always have to pee will keep me alert enough to reach the next rest stop.
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Old 09-04-08, 05:35 PM   #25
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gum, but not because the mint is killing you. The chewing action increases blood flow to the brain, so you have a higher level of readiness with an active brain.

driving makes you sleepy because it's monotonous, try and distract yourself with CDs that make you think, but don't get too distracted.
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