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Sleepy driving

October 13th, 2005, 08:31 AM
Anyone have a remedy for being sleepy when you drive to/from work?

I have always been the person who falls asleep on trains and busses and such. Now that's I'm driving, I'm having a lot of trouble keeping 100% alert while going to and from work.

I just don't know what to do. I tried bringing a hot drink to keep me awake, but I just end up having to pee really bad on my way to work. I tried getting up earlier so I'm more awake. I tried sleeping more (as it is, I get about 8-9 hours, so I shouldn't be too tired). I go to bed at 9 and wake up at 5:30, I leave at 7 AM, and it takes me about 45 minutes to work. I carpool with BF sometimes in mornings, and sometimes at night so I sleep, he drives. It's worse in the morning though.

It wasn't so bad in the summer, but now that it's dark when I leave and come home, it doesn't help. I am the kind of person who will sleep 12 hours on weekends to catch up as I am so tired in the winter. Right now it's 8:30 Am and I am still barely able to keep my eyes open, and my head feels so heavy...

October 13th, 2005, 08:54 AM
They say that an apple will wake you up better in the morning than a coffee will. Try that.

I am the same way but if I get some good music on the radio, it keeps me awake because I turn it right up.

October 13th, 2005, 09:26 AM
Don't sleep more on the weekends, it's setting you up for disaster during the week. Our bodies weren't designed to have varrying sleep patterns, and by sleeping more on the weekends, it makes your body feel deprived on the weekdays. If you sleep 8-9 hours during the week, don't sleep more than 9-10 hours on the weekend. This should help you stay awake. Also, if you can fit it in, some morning exercise will keep you awake. (I always find that when I run in the mornings, I'm awake all day no prob)

Rick C
October 13th, 2005, 09:51 AM
I would agree with that . . . . I'm not a morning person but I'm up at six or seven in the morning on Saturday's and Sunday's. If you sleep in on the weekend, its tougher during the week.

My morning shower seems to wipe away the cobwebs.

At work, I'll crack a Diet Coke at about 7:30 a.m. . . . the only one I will have through the day.

Also, I go to bed by 10 p.m. most nights to get up between 6 and 6:30 on weekdays.

Routine is very helpful.

Rick C

October 13th, 2005, 10:22 AM
I agree that a routine is a good thing. I'm a natural night hawk and suffer from some insomnia so it's tricky. I go to bed around midnight. I'm out of bed at 6:20 am. and on the road for my morning commute around 7:00-7:05. It's 75 km one way. I take a coffee with me.
I fell asleep at the wheel a number of years ago with my teenaged daughter in the car - I woke up in time to see the rock cut, we were 10 minutes from home after a 9 hour drive. I vowed then, I would not drive when I was feeling drowsy.
NOW I will STOP, get out of the car, walk around, for a couple of minutes to clear the fog. I don't care if I'm only 5 minutes from doesn't matter.
I don't find the morning ride as bad as the evening drive...4:00 to 4:30 is a killer for me. You might try taking a quick walk (5 minutes) in the morning is helpful.
PLEASE, PLEASE, don't drive drowsy, statistics are showing the drowsy drivers are equally as bad as a DRUNK driver....and that's scary!

October 13th, 2005, 12:10 PM
Doesn't matter if I have a morning shower, doesn't wake me up. Sometimes I almost fall asleep in the shower!

Exercise doesn't wake me up either (I do two walks with the dog before leaving).

I don't drink coffee, or caffiene, so that's not an option. I always eat a large breakfast before I leave (I have blood sugar issues, so I have to eat a lot or I crash while I drive).

Music sometimes helps, but they rarely play anything I really like (in 45 minutes I may hear one song I like. I'm a constant switcher because there is nothing I like on much).

On weekends I'm usually in to bed by 10:30 and up by 8, so it's not sleeping in that much really, maybe an extra hour. It will get longer as winter goes by though, as I hate getting out of bed when it's cold.

I read a report once that each person has a sleep pattern where if you find yours, you should be good. Each person has a natural amount of hours they should sleep to function. Basically, if you go to bed the same time each night, start recording when you wake up naturally, and average it out over a week or two, and that will tell you how long you need to sleep to function. I did that when I was working from home earlier this year, and my natural sleep pattern was 12 hours of sleep each night! I was able to go to bed at 10 PM, and sleep straight through to 10 AM each day without interruption. Crazy huh?

But 12 hours each night during the week is imposible (especially since I am at work almost for 12 hours, including travel each day). So, I sleep a little more on weekends because I have no choice. My body/mind is so tire sometimes, that no amount of poking or proading will wake me up. I have fallen asleep at concerts (loud ones) even.

So..any ideas?

October 13th, 2005, 12:45 PM
Roll down the window and stick your head out when you start feeling tired! I'm sure this would be particularly effective during the winter months! :p

Rick C
October 13th, 2005, 12:55 PM
Well Raingirl, the good news is that from your description, it sounds like you're a teenager and still growing . . . . they're notorious for sleeping in until noon.

Rick C

October 13th, 2005, 02:12 PM
Are you currently gaining or losing weight? If your weight is unstable, or if you're diet is not balanced you'll end up sleepier.

October 13th, 2005, 02:13 PM
Good Lord, enjoy the sleep while you can! I have a two year old and haven't slept past 7:30 since he was born.

Fatigue breaker: really really BAD radio station of music you can't stand playing LOUD, and windows down.

October 13th, 2005, 02:22 PM
Raingirl...have you had a good physical checkup? Is it possible you have a medical issue that's causing the drowsiness or is this something you've lived with all your life? Maybe a sleep clinic is in order. Being that tired, if you're really getting the amount of sleep you say you do...sounds like something else is going on. Just a thought.

October 13th, 2005, 02:36 PM
I tried the window down thing once...I woke up with a frost bitten forehead.

After waking up in the ditch...on the 401...still doing 140km/hr...BACKWARDS...I definitely found some things to keep that from happening again.

I'll pull over and have quick power naps. They last 10-15 mins, but I'll be wide awake for the next 2 hours (usually driving from Windsor to Toronto). Also, I used to have a tape that had songs I like to sing to...Actually, I think that's what I called it on the cover "Songs I like to Sing". That helped keep me up. Now, I use talk radio. It has to be a quasi-interesting topic, though. And one night, I found out that Global is on the very first radio station (87.1, I think), so I would listen to sit-coms on the way home. Other than the Roadrunner and Coyote from Bugs Bunny, I actually found that one quite entertaining...

October 13th, 2005, 03:07 PM
I had a physical last year and my doc suspected something wrong with my endocrine system (I have fluctuating blood sugar, but not diabetes, just hypoglycemia, and possible thyroid problems). She gave me the requisition for blood tests. Soon after she went on MAT leave, and I lost the sheet, then she switched offices and I changed jobs so I haven't had a chance to go see her to get it done again. I suspect it's thyroid. Probably why I can't lose weight (I tried for 3 years, with hours of exercise a week and such, and no change whatsoevr!)

October 13th, 2005, 03:19 PM
NOOOOOOOoooooo! Not thyroid! (sounds like it though) Sometimes I get sleepy, so sleepy that I have to sleep this minute, no matter what I'm doing, but recently I realized, I'm not really sleepy after all. It's dizziness with dry eyes. So it really makes it seem like I'm VERY tired, but really it's just a combination of the two symptoms.

My suggestion: Cool Visine. When I was driving home from Whistler, my eyes would get tired way before anything else (I had a concussion), and visine every few hours really helped. Just one or two drops each time in case you need more later. :)

Also, if you have the heater on, make sure it's on the floor ONLY. If you have it coming out of either the windshield one or the face one, your eyes will dry out VERY quickly. :)

October 13th, 2005, 05:42 PM
make sure you have breakfast before leaving, that may give you a boost. you say a drink jsut make you wanna pee, well that kept you awake didnt it, uncomfortable yes, but if it stops you crashing and hurting yourself well suffer my lovely :D

apart from good sleep, good excersise will also help as does nice cool water. dont try hot drinks, it may make you sleepy. try a bottle of cold water in the morns that may help. travelling between 6-8am and 2-4pm can be teh most dangerous tinmes to drive in a day as they are the lulls in your natural cycle and make you sleepy. but good excersise, healthy breakfast and plenty of good sleep should help.

caffine, cigs, cold air and loud music have been proven to be very ineffective and dangerous........

try playing a game with your self, or talking to yrouself, i find getting revved up and sining a good tuen wake me up too.......

for gods sake, please just be careful, you worry me :eek: .

October 13th, 2005, 06:00 PM
When I am tired I crank the tunes, but what keeps me awake is singing. Sing at the top of your lung if you like. Just ignore the strange looks you get, and you will get the looks. I just don't make eye contact with anyone while I sing and drive.

My BF drinks a can of Red Bull in the morining to wake himself up.

October 14th, 2005, 08:43 AM
I first take Joey for a walk right after my shower at 5am which wakes me up for the drive to work. Of course I have my Tim Hortons coffee which wakes me up too. :D

October 14th, 2005, 08:56 AM
You should make a killer 80's and early 90's mixed tape. (None of that mixed cd poo) There's no way you can sleep with that blaring at you. While the open window thing will probably work... I think it will just make you dread the drive. My teammates and I used to play "Antartica" when we went on winter road trips to the mountains (Drive with all windows open, and AC on, stripped down to a single layer, in the middle of the winter and see who can last the longest) and 1/2 of us always ended up with 1/2 body frost bite :rolleyes:

October 14th, 2005, 11:29 AM
I was going to suggest you go immediately to the doctor, but then read your post about receiving the requisition for the thyroid tests that you lost. You should immediately take care of this. Your doctor's blood tests would have revealed a possible thryoid disorder at which time you would have been sent to a hospital lab for a test - you have to report 2 mornings in a row - and then treatment would be determined. My right thryroid went temporarily nuts for 2 years (hyper) - which was unexpected because I have to watch my weight. Reverted to normal after 2 years. I wish I could say that my thryroid disorder improved my sleep, but I am a diagnosed insomniac who cannot take sleeping aids of any sort - opposite effect. But if you are sleeping 8 - 9 hours a night and practically falling asleep at the wheel, you need to see a doctor as you are endangering yourself and worse, others on the road. You do not want to have an accident and have your medical reports indicate that you did not have recommended thryroid tests done. Insurance companies do their best not to pay these days. Suggest you call your doctor today.

October 14th, 2005, 04:34 PM
With my narcolepsy, I have a really hard time waking up in the mornings.

I have a lamp on a timer to come on in the morning. The additional light in conjunction with my alarm clock has helped to wake me up. When you get up, turn on all the lights. This does help to reset your internal clock.

Also, my doctor gave me a prescription for melatonin. With narcolepsy, my melatonin levels stay relatively steady. A "normal" person experiences an increase in melatonin in the evenings (to induce sleep) and a drop in levels in the morning to help wake up. By artificially increasing my levels in the evening, it creates a more accentuated drop in melatonin levels in the morning, again making it easier for me to wake up.

I too need to top up my sleep deficit on weekends, but what I try to do is get up at the same time as a weekday, but have a nap during the day, or go to bed earlier (single, don't date, can go to bed at 9 pm on a Sat. night)