A recent survey by the CDC in Atlanta has uncovered some startling statistics: 1 in 24 drivers admit to falling asleep while driving. That’s four percent of adult drivers, having nodded off behind the wheel, and earlier studies have shown this number may be quite higher. While the study shows that dosing while driving is most common in men ages 24-35 who get less than 6 hours of sleep each night, it is pretty safe to assume that a fair percentage of cases likely have snoring or sleep apnea problems preventing them from getting a good night’s sleep.
An interesting fact: almost one third (28%) of all commercial truck drivers have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes short periods of interrupted breathing. Typically, sleep apnea interruptions last no more than 10 seconds, and occur many times throughout the night.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Disturbed sleep
- Gasping or choking while sleeping
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches or nausea
- Depression or irritability
- Concentration or memory issues
How Sleep Apnea Affects Driving
Sleep apnea causes broken and non-restful sleep, which makes you drowsy and affects your alertness behind the wheel. Untreated sleep apnea is a common cause of fatigue related motor vehicle accidents. It is important to remember that you do not have to actually fall asleep behind the wheel to be a risk, even being drowsy or less than alert can cause your reaction times suffer and make an accident more likely.
If you have experienced the symptoms listed above, call Atlanta ENT for a sleep apnea consultation today. You can’t afford to put yourself or your loved ones at risk.
Ramie A. Tritt, MD, President of Atlanta ENT