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Sleepy Time News

Afternoon drowsiness, particularly while driving, can be a serious problem

(HealthDay is the new name for HealthScoutNews.)

SUNDAY, Aug. 3, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- If our bodies really do have a clock, the hours between 2 and 4 p.m. could be called "sleepy time."

People tend to feel drowsy during the mid-afternoon hours, and when you add a dose of summer heat to that, you're talking about some serious malaise.

This tired feeling many people experience can be attributed to a drop in body temperature -- just like you experience during the night. That feeling can intensify if a person didn't get enough sleep the night before. Alcohol and certain medications can add to the sense of undeniable fatigue.

Afternoon sleepiness can become a serious problem for someone who is driving. According to Green Flag, a motoring assistance organization concentrated in the United Kingdom and Europe, warm, muggy weather can cause serious drowsiness in drivers, making them less alert and dangerously sleepy at the wheel. Everyone knows drinking and driving can be a lethal combination, but what many people don't realize is that driving when you're drowsy can be just as dangerous.

During those long afternoon summer drives, Green Flag recommends the following to make the roads safe for you and others:

  • Recognize the signs of tiredness -- heavy eyelids, yawning, waves of drowsiness and an inability to concentrate.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist that any medication you are taking will not cause drowsiness.
  • Stop for a 15-minute break every two hours.
  • Take a reviving 10-minute nap.
  • Have a cup of tea or coffee (although this is only a temporary solution).
  • Park the car and walk for five minutes to get some fresh air.

More information

The National Sleep Foundation has more on drowsy drivers.

SOURCE: Green Flag
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