Note: The following safety information is printed at the recommendation of Cheryl Rost, manager of Risk Management/Safety
Here’s a quiz from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Test your knowledge of sleep, then pass the test on to your workers – particularly those who drive as part of their job.
1. Everyone has a biological clock.
2. Drinking coffee cures drowsiness while driving.
3. I can tell when I'm going to fall asleep.
4. I'm a safe driver so it doesn't matter if I'm sleepy.
5. I am incapable of napping.
6. Nearly everyone gets enough sleep.
7. Being sleepy affects your perception.
8. Young people need less sleep (than older people).
9. If I sleep a lot now I won't need to sleep as much later.
10. Even people who sleep eight hours may not be well rested.
Answers and explanations
1. True. Your biological clock tells you when it's lunchtime, gives you pep at certain times of day and affects your body temperature. Between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. there's a lull in the body clock, which can cause sleepiness and leave people at risk for injury. Another lull occurs between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. - a particularly dangerous time for drivers.
2. False. While coffee can temporarily reduce drowsiness, it is not a substitute for sleep. A coffee-fueled but sleep-deprived driver can lapse into micro-sleeps and crash (literally).
3. False. Eight in 10 people think they can predict when they are going to fall asleep. They are often wrong. If you are drowsy or sleep-deprived you can fall asleep and never know it. Signs that you are at risk for falling asleep include constant yawning, difficulty focusing your eyes, no memory of driving the past few miles and lane drifting or tailgating. Stop and nap.
4. False. The only safe driver is an alert driver.
5. False. Many people insist they cannot nap, yet even people who say they are not tired will quickly fall asleep in a darkened room if they have not been getting enough sleep. Stop your car and recline. You may be surprised at how easily you fall asleep.
6. False. One in two people report occasional sleeping problems. If you awaken rested you are getting enough sleep. If you have to drag yourself out of bed, you aren't getting enough shuteye.
7. True. Have you ever driven at night and seen something that you thought was an animal, but turned out to be a paper bag? That's one way sleepy drivers misjudge their surroundings.
8. False. Teenagers and young adults actually need more sleep than people 30 and older do, yet they are often sleep-deprived.
9. False. You can't save sleep up ahead of time and borrow it back later. When your sleep debt gets big enough you will fall asleep, no matter what you are doing.
10. True. If you wake up feeling tired and not rested you may have a sleep disorder. See your doctor.
By Barbara Manning Grimm,