March 18, 2014
You know that drinking and driving don't mix. Did you know that driving when you're sleep deprived can have the same effect as alcohol? Being awake for 22 hours straight can slow your reaction time more than four drinks can. And just like alcohol, sleepiness impairs judgment, so you don't necessarily know you're impaired when you are.
Crashes often occur on rural highways when drivers are alone - usually late at night or early in the morning. Most pain medications and many drugs that you take for a headache, cold, or hay fever will make you drowsy, too.
The folks at Harvard Medical School's Division of Sleep Medicine have created a website to help people who are not getting enough sleep. If you're not getting between 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep each night, you're probably sleep deprived. How does a lack of sleep affect your reaction time? There's an easy way to find out. Test your reaction time with the Division of Sleep Medicine's five-minute reaction-time challenge.
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