HYDERABAD: A month-long campaign of road safety was observed as National Road Safety Month between January and February. A study by the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) on the 300-km Agra-Lucknow Expressway found out that tired drivers who doze off while driving are responsible for about 40 per cent of road accidents.
In a country where road accidents claim nearly three lives every minute, the report related to sleepy drivers has underlined the need for educating highway motorists/commercial drivers about the importance of taking frequent breaks and proper sleep for safety.
In countries such as the USA and Europe, a sleep test is mandatory for truck and long route drivers as well as pilots. In India, there’s no such policy and despite the efforts by the government, India Auto Inc as well as apex industry bodies SIAM and ACMA. India accounts for 11 per cent of road accident-related fatalities in the world. And if the person driving hasn’t slept well then it can be disastrous.
Suggests Dr Sibasish Dey, Head, Medical Affairs, Asia and Latin America, ResMed on maintaining seven-eight hours of sleep after a hectic schedule, “Sound sleep that constitutes at least three 90-minute sleep cycles keeps you energetic and focused during the day. An erratic sleep cycle’s side effects are mainly observed in night shift workers, frequent travellers (because of jet lag), commercial drivers (working on long routes) and people with an irregular work shift. However, even in such situations, people need to maintain their sleep cycle as much as possible. The crucial thing to note here is that not everyone needs seven hours of sleep to maximise their next-day energy, productivity, and body functions. Both quantity and quality of sleep is important.”
At the same time it’s important for an individual to keep track of his/her sleep cycle. Adds Sibasish, “One of the best options is using myAir sleep cycle app. The app provides educational videos and personalised coaching, tips and encouragement for the user to monitor and make adjustments based on the sleep score, such as reconsidering mask fit (in case they are undertaking sleep treatment) and attempting to sleep more hours. Users can also see their nightly score and challenge themselves to reach that perfect night’s sleep goal.
A few tips for maintaining a healthy sleep cycle:
- Try not to take spicy or heavy meals around bedtime.
- Also, try not to take tea or coffee post 7 pm
- Avoiding stressful situations before bedtime.
- Stress-related thoughts may not allow us to switch off as soon as we hit the bed, and so it is essential to indulge in calming activities such as reading a book, meditation, or a shower
- At least 10-15 minutes of physical exercises can improve quality of sleep