Daytime Sleepiness and Automobile Accidents

Car AccidentOne of the most common activities most of us do every day is to drive. If you have a job, you most likely drive. If you go to school, and you’re older than 16, you probably drive. Unless you live in a big city where public transportation is the norm, you may be driving hours every day. Some people commute a long distance across sweeping, windy roads. Others stay stuck in traffic for both their morning and evening commutes, honking their horn in frustration as they watch the minutes tick away. One thing is for sure: you shouldn’t drive under the influence of sleep deprivation. Livonia sleep apnea dentist, Dr. James Stewart, will tell you more about the dangers of having sleep apnea and driving.

Driving Into Dreams

Falling asleep while driving has been used as fodder in humorous movies. Remember Chevy Chase snoozing away behind the wheel in “National Lampoon’s Vacation?” Clark Griswold remains in blissful slumber as the “family truckster” careens through the air and into the desert. In reality, sleeping and driving can be a very serious situation that puts you and the people around you in danger. Unfortunately, we are an often overworked and under-rested society, so thousands of traffic accidents occur each year as a result of people falling asleep. One of the biggest causes of daytime sleepiness is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Sleep Apnea and Falling Asleep at the Wheel

Obstructive sleep apnea affects approximately 100 million people in the U.S. When you are afflicted with OSA, you stop breathing several times during each sleep cycle. These periods of breathlessness last for up to ten seconds, and generally culminate in a disconcerting arousal response. Each time your brain wakes up your body, it can be nearly impossible to obtain the proper sleep you need to refuel and restore your system for the next day ahead. You will likely end up with chronic fatigue throughout the day that might even end up with you falling asleep in your car, while you’re driving.

About Your Livonia MI Dentist Dr. Stewart

James R. Stewart, Jr, DDS, PC and our compassionate staff proudly serve patients of all ages from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, and all surrounding communities. If you think you or a loved one is dealing with a sleep disorder, call our office today at (734) 425-4400, to schedule an appointment. At Dental sleep Medicine of Michigan, we are committed to forming trusting relationships with our patients so we can work together to achieve sound treatment and a future full of restful nights.