Sleep Before You Drive

We all know that sleep is a universal need. It is essential to living. You can’t last long in this world without sleep. It will take its toll over time. If you see people looking haggard and stressed, they are also probably lacking in sleep. Sleeping restores your body to optimum health and gives you the energy you need to face a new day. Your attention and focus are heightened and you have no problem doing tasks but remember when you’re sleepy, you can barely steady yourself and finish what you are doing without making mistakes. Hence, you can’t just disregard the value of sleep especially if you do something that requires your undivided attention and focus, such as when driving or operating machinery.

You’ve probably seen your fair share of road accidents already. Some can be minor mishaps while others have claimed the lives of the driver and the passengers and even that of innocent bystanders. More often than not, simply getting that recommended eight hours sleep at night is enough to prevent such accidents from happening but at times it can be something the person behind the wheel has little control over. Conditions such as sleep apnea can put the driver and everyone in their way in serious harm. These people likely suffer from poor sleep and varying sleeping patterns and may have a deadly consequence in the event they are out on the road or operating a machine at work.

Professional drivers, including taxi drivers and long-haul truck drivers, should undergo sleep apnea testing as a prerequisite for acquiring or renewing a driver’s license, a Dubai-based medical expert said.

Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the Dubai Health Forum on Monday, Dr. Fabrizio Facchini, consultant pulmonologist at Valiant Clinic, said that such measures should be taken to limit the risks of driving while sleepy. Sleep apnea can cause severe daytime sleepiness, a contributing factor in many road accident incidents in Dubai, he noted.

Facchini said sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, resulting in severe excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).

Sleepiness, like excessive speed, driving under the influence of alcohol, aggressive driving and inclement weather, contributes to or causes motor vehicle crashes. 


Getting tested for sleep apnea is being implemented right now in certain countries like Dubai especially among professional drivers. It is but a must as they usually travel long distances without a break and it can spell disaster if the driver feels drowsy while driving. Daytime sleepiness is a common complaint among individuals diagnosed with sleep apnea as they go through multiple breathing gaps in their slumber. As they say, prevention is better than cure, which is why it won’t hurt if drivers take this test for the safety of everyone on the road.

“Sleep apena is not the only cause of drowsiness, but it means that you don’t get a good sleep, so you’re sleepy throughout the day,” said Fernie, referring to the condition that involves irregular breathing patterns, waking people sometimes hundreds of times a night. “Driving is hard work when you’re tired. You’re not happy, you get stressed out.”

That stress and lack of restful sleep also puts drivers at a higher risk for developing other habits that cause health-related issues. Suffering from fatigue means you’re more likely to crave snacks full of sugar and carbohydrates as a means to boost energy, which may lead to conditions like high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity, says University of Waterloo Public Health and Health Systems associate professor Philip Bigelow. Those not getting regular sleep are also three to four times more likely to suffer a stroke or heart disease.


You not only compromise your safety and the lives of everyone you meet on the road but deteriorate the quality if your health over time if you don’t address sleep apnea right away. Remember that this disorder will not go away on its own. Get yourself checked in an accredited sleep clinic by a sleep specialist and find out which sleep apnea management will best fit your needs. Your body will suffer if you constantly lose sleep as it deprives each cell in your body of much-needed oxygen it requires for normal functioning. If you don’t have a sleep disorder like this, simply sleeping is enough to help you travel with the peace of mind knowing you are in your best form to drive from point A to point B. But if you have sleep apnea, a medical intervention is necessary. Convenient anti-snoring mouthpieces such as and are excellent remedies while you deliberate if surgery or CPAP is the best for you or perhaps a more innovative technology that is not in the works.

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