Results indicate that adolescent drivers were twice as likely to have had a crash if they experienced sleepiness while driving (adjusted odds ratio = 2.1) or reported having bad sleep (OR = 1.9). Eighty of the 339 students had already crashed at least once, and 15 percent of them considered sleepiness to have been the main cause of the crash. Fifty-six percent of students who had at least one previous crash reported driving while sleepy, compared with 35 percent of subjects who had not been in a crash.
Lead author Fabio Cirignotta, M.D., professor of neurology at the University of Bologna in Italy, said that the only effective countermeasure to drowsiness is to stop driving immediately, pull over to a safe place and nap for 10 to15 minutes.
"Commonly used countermeasures to fatigue, such as opening the window, listening to the radio, or drinking a coffee, are known to be short-lasting and, essentially, useless," said Cirignotta. "Moreover, if a subject perceives sleepiness, he or she would probably already have a reduced performance at the wheel, and nobody can safely detect the real instant when sleep is starting in order to stop driving at that time."
This cross-sectional study was conducted in 2004 and was supported by the Italian Ministry of Education. Self-administered questionnaires were distributed to 339 students who had a driver's license and were in their last two years of attendance at one of seven high schools in Bologna. Students were between the ages of 18 and 21 years (mean 18.4 years), and 58 percent of them were male.
Questions concerned lifestyle habits, nocturnal sleep habits, symptoms suggesting sleep disorders, and a subjective report of daytime sleepiness. Driving habits and sleepiness at the wheel were evaluated by questions assessing the frequency and timing of car use and accidents, the perceived causes of vehicle crashes and the respondents' coping methods for dealing with sleepiness while driving.
Results show that students suffered from chronic sleep deprivation. Although they reported that their sleep need was a mean of 9.2 hours per night, the students reported sleeping for an average of only 7.3 hours on weeknights. Only six percent of students slept nine hours or more on weeknights, and 58 percent tried to catch up by sleeping nine hours or more on weekends.
Sleep problems also were commonly reported by the students. Forty-five percent woke up at least once during the night with trouble falling asleep again, 40 percent complained of difficulties in morning awakening and 19 percent reported bad sleep. The combination of chronic sleep loss and poor sleep quality had a negative effect on their alertness, as 64 percent of participants complained of excessive daytime sleepiness.
The study also found an increased risk of car accidents in men (OR = 3.3) and smokers (OR = 3.2). The authors suggested that the use of tobacco could be an indirect estimate of unhealthy lifestyle habits, as well as a method of counteracting sleepiness.
According to the authors, the study emphasizes the need for education programs that target adolescents with information about improving sleep habits, the importance of sleep and the dangers of sleep deprivation.
The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (JCSM) contains published papers related to the clinical practice of sleep medicine, including original manuscripts such as clinical trials, clinical reviews, clinical commentary and debate, medical economic/practice perspectives, case series and novel/interesting case reports. In addition, the JCSM publishes proceedings from conferences, workshops and symposia sponsored by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine or other organizations related to improving the practice of sleep medicine.
For a copy of the study, "Sleep Quality and Motor Vehicle Crashes in Adolescents," or to arrange an interview with an AASM spokesperson, please contact Kelly Wagner, AASM public relations coordinator, at (708) 492-0930, ext. 9331, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AASM is a professional membership organization dedicated to the advancement of sleep medicine and sleep-related research. As the national accrediting body for sleep disorders centers and laboratories for sleep related breathing disorders, the AASM promotes the highest standards of patient care. The organization serves its members and advances the field of sleep health care by setting the clinical standards for the field of sleep medicine, advocating for recognition, diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, educating professionals dedicated to providing optimal sleep health care and fostering the development and application of scientific knowledge.
Kelly Wagner | EurekAlert!
Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center
The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine
13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2017 | Life Sciences