How often have you suffered fight-with-sleep? Those moments when you doing some things, but sleep would persistently command, “You have done enough for now, you have to shut down momentarily.” Sleep doesn’t care how important or interesting whatever you are doing is. We usually clash with sleep when it appears to be disrupting the schedules that require us to be alert. Most times, these situations of conflict with sleep occur when we are exhausted by activities that have lasted such a time enough to cause us brain fatigue. In other words, the activities, apart from lasting for a while, would also be able to cause the brain to get tired. This depends on how tiring the activity is, how quickly the sleep will set in during or after the activity, and how much stamina the brain has to withstand the tiring effect of the activity. Imagine how tiring reading can be sometimes, and also steadily causing sleep while it is still ongoing. But awakening activities such as dancing or sports will be very tiring, repel sleep while it is ongoing and quickly trigger sleep after the exercises. Meanwhile, alcohol intake will not be noticeably tiring but would undoubtedly fetch sleep while it is ongoing and even after the consumption. We have also observed where a brain deprived of sleep would most predictably succumb more easily during enduring tasks like driving or keeping awake for night guard duties.
My story about a moment of conflict with sleep is that type of mistake that one prays for no repetition. During a festive period, I had scheduled that I and my family would travel by road to another city about 350 miles away from where we reside. Surely, I was to be the driver. Then, I was the doctor working in the accident and emergency unit. Incidentally, I was not listed to go on festive holiday but I had a few off-duty days based on our duty roaster. As a ‘sharp guy’, I decided that I will maximally utilize the off-duty days to embark on the family travel. My night duty preceding our travel date was so hectic with the choking treatment of emergencies resulting from festive excitement incited fighting, road accidents and food poisoning. Returning home after the night duty, I the ‘super man’ set off the following morning and commenced driving my family to the anticipated destination. I was yet to cover the distance halfway when I started feeling irresistibly sleepy. I had to start doing different tricks to push away sleep, rubbing and opening wide my eyes, chewing gum and even stopping to wash my face with water. I thought I was winning the battle with sleep until I woke up with a loud shout from my wife who was the front seat passenger. The next clear object in my driving view was a slow-moving big truck that I was about to ram into. How I reflexively turned the car wheels to find the car at the roadside bush remained mysterious to me to date. I and my family gulped full from the bowl of dreadful startle.
I obviously suffered impaired driving resulting from sleepiness due to sleep deprivation. Similar occurrences have caused uncountable road accidents. Research showed that driver fatigue with sleepiness during driving is a major contributor to road accidents. …“Among the frequent explanations for sleepiness during driving were sleep problems and some behavioural factors, most importantly sleep deprivation.” The risk factors for sleep deprivation were found to be driving at night, not getting enough sleep, and working or staying awake for long periods. Other factors were young age, male sex, office worker, smoker, drugs and alcoholism. Meanwhile, according to WHO an estimated 1.25 million people die from road accidents every year, and 50 million people are seriously injured. When death or serious injury results, this loss is compounded by harm to people, their households, economy and social networks.
By avoiding sleep deprivation, stopping driving under the influence of sleep-inducing substances like alcohol and pain medicines, sleeping on a quality bed mattress and pillow, and adopting other healthy sleep habits, we will prevent accidents that result from sleeping on wheels.
Let us remember that when you sleep, where you sleep and how you sleep affect your mental health, physical well-being and living a healthy life. We all need quality sleep to be set for productivity in our endeavours.
Do you need further information on the above subject? Are you looking for ways to maintain quality sleep for general well-being and healthy living? Remember, a doctor is an appropriate person to offer relevant advice for the maintenance of quality sleep and solution to sleep difficulties. Do you want to contact the Orthopaedic Sleep Consultant, Dr Charles Uzodimma, kindly send your request to email@example.com OR Whatsapp 08129982143.
Vitafoam Nigeria Plc is the first foam manufacturing company in Nigeria to partner with a sleep expert to educate Nigerians on quality sleep for healthy living. The proudly Nigerian company is truly passionate about sleep and general well-being, and continues to consistently provide Nigerians with quality products that offer great comfort.
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