By Caitlyn Cristina
It is getting to that point in the year where students are staying up later and later to study or work on schoolwork. Midterms and finals are right around the corner and a healthy sleeping schedule seems impossible. However, when the weekend starts, it’s time to cut loose and have some fun while possibly having a few drinks.
But how does lack of sleep paired with a few drinks affect your ability to make it home safely? Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. According to drowsydriving.org, driving after being awake for 18 hours is the equivalent to driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.05 and jumps to 0.10 after being awake for 24 hours. A BAC of 0.08 would make you legally drunk and unable to drive a car. So driving after being awake for a long period of time paired with having a few drinks is a cocktail for disaster.
Not only does drowsiness affect you when you have been awake for too long, but it can also come from not getting enough sleep at night. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that people that sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in such a crash as those sleeping 8 hours or more, while people sleeping less than 5 hours increased their risk four to five times. Going to bed early and getting a good night’s rest can greatly reduce your risk of getting in a drowsy driving related crash.
What about using alcohol to go to sleep faster? Studies have shown that many people sometimes include a drink or two before going to bed to help them fall asleep. Alcohol can actually cause you to have lower quality sleep and wake up feeling not as well rested. Bathroom breaks, heatwaves, snoring, and many other problems can occur when you drink before bed. To learn more about how drinking affects how well you sleep, visit https://www.sleepadvisor.org/alcohol-and-sleep/.
If you still plan on going out after a long day, here are some tips on how to stay safe:
- Get a good night’s 7-9 hours of sleep first
- Take a nap to re-energize yourself
- Make a plan for a designated driver