Trouble Falling Asleep While Driving

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GregPQ
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Trouble Falling Asleep While Driving

Post by GregPQ » Sun May 13, 2007 9:10 pm

I frequently get drowsy while driving on Interstate highways. It really cramps my quality of life!

I'm OK if it is a small, two-lane winding road. Those straight Interstates literally put me to sleep.

Any favorite tricks to keep alert?

Greg

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Chaps
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Re: Trouble Falling Asleep While Driving

Post by Chaps » Sun May 13, 2007 9:15 pm

GregPQ wrote:I frequently get drowsy while driving on Interstate highways. It really cramps my quality of life!

I'm OK if it is a small, two-lane winding road. Those straight Interstates literally put me to sleep.

Any favorite tricks to keep alert?

Greg
Have your wife or mother-in-law in the car with you. They'll keep you alert :D

Danny
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Banihex
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Post by Banihex » Sun May 13, 2007 9:22 pm

Sunflower seeds!

I am ALWAYS eating David sunflower seeds when I drive (regular, ranch, jalepeno, nacho cheese are my favs) It helps keep you awake in that it takes some concentration. That and sing along with some music.

your sunflower seed addict!
John

ps Only eat David sunflower seeds, frito lay makes disgusting ones.

p.s.s. Jack Daniels also makes sunflower seeds, they are great, buy if you ever see 'em.

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Chaps
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Post by Chaps » Sun May 13, 2007 9:24 pm

Banihex wrote:Sunflower seeds!

I am ALWAYS eating David sunflower seeds when I drive (regular, ranch, jalepeno, nacho cheese are my favs) It helps keep you awake in that it takes some concentration. That and sing along with some music.

your sunflower seed addict!
John

ps Only eat David sunflower seeds, frito lay makes disgusting ones.

p.s.s. Jack Daniels also makes sunflower seeds, they are great, buy if you ever see 'em.
But don't use the ones which are already shelled. That defeats the purpose.

Danny
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Banihex
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Post by Banihex » Sun May 13, 2007 9:26 pm

Agreed with Danny, thanks for clearing that up for the non-seeders out there.

Way too excited about sunflower seeds,
John

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Chaps
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Post by Chaps » Sun May 13, 2007 9:32 pm

No problem, John. Years ago, it used to amaze me at how a friend of mine could drive our church bus and pour a handful of sunflower seeds in his mouth and shell them while they were in his mouth and then he would spit the shells out in a can or jar (that is, until I learned how to do the same thing). Its a gift :D

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sysiphus
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Post by sysiphus » Sun May 13, 2007 10:14 pm

First and foremost, you must listen to your body. If you are bored, or a little tired from sitting and looking at the same road for hours, go ahead, get some coffee, peanuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
If you are truly drowsy, PULL OFF THE ROAD! Do some pushups, jumping jacks, run around the car a few times. This should keep you going for another half-hour or so, and then you must truly rest. A drowsy/sleeping driver behind the wheel is just as dangerous as a drunk driver.
David
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Chaps
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Post by Chaps » Sun May 13, 2007 10:19 pm

Sysiphus wrote:First and foremost, you must listen to your body. If you are bored, or a little tired from sitting and looking at the same road for hours, go ahead, get some coffee, peanuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
If you are truly drowsy, PULL OFF THE ROAD! Do some pushups, jumping jacks, run around the car a few times. This should keep you going for another half-hour or so, and then you must truly rest. A drowsy/sleeping driver behind the wheel is just as dangerous as a drunk driver.
Agreed!

Danny
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Post by GollyMrScience » Sun May 13, 2007 10:21 pm

Always have a nibbly to chew on and something to sip on. The combination of easily burned sugars in many treats and the gradual buildup of bladder pressure will often keep you alert long enough to make it to the next rest stop.
A CB radio used to be really handy. Having to carry on a conversation can help. Not sure how busy the CB airwaves are these days though.
I like the sunflower seeds too but I am a sucker for the salt and then I have to drink and then I have to pee so between all those demands I've got staying awake pretty well covered.
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Post by notthesharpest » Sun May 13, 2007 11:18 pm

If the road seems to put you to sleep, it means you already were asleep and the road just proved it to you. No road, no matter how boring, has any actual sleep-inducing effect. Get some sleep before you continue.

My own experience: Drinking coffee when I'm really tired stops me from actually falling asleep, but it doesn't make me safer; coffee means I'm awake but stupid.

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Post by CMur12 » Sun May 13, 2007 11:28 pm

I agree with David.

Even getting out of the car and walking around snaps me out of it for awhile.

I also keep chewing gum with a bold flavor in the car. (The only time I chew gum, but the way.) The flavor and the chewing help to keep me awake.

Personally, I do believe that there is something to "Highway Hypnosis." Coffee helps if I'm not really tired. There have been times, though, when exhausted and having drunk a lot of coffee that I felt like I could fall asleep with my eyes open. :shock:

- Murray

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Post by MOSES » Mon May 14, 2007 6:15 am

notthesharpest wrote:If the road seems to put you to sleep, it means you already were asleep and the road just proved it to you. No road, no matter how boring, has any actual sleep-inducing effect. Get some sleep before you continue.
Honestly, I don't really agree. I have found, through long experience, that my eyelids WILL feel heavy after a couple of hours on the highway. WILL. Every single time. It doesn't matter if I had ten hours of sleep the last three nights. It will happen.

So here's what I do. Caffeine helps some. Only a little. Having a drink to sip helps a lot though. Get a fountain drink with ice. Chew on the ice once the drink is gone. That'll keep you alert for quite a while. Books on CD really really help. A talk radio show that amuses you, or really POs you helps. Signing along to CDs or the radio is the one thing that is basically foolproof. Also, I love atomic fireballs. The big ones that come loose in the bin. They are hotter than the little ones in the bags. If I stop at a gas station that has a bin of them by the register, I'll get a couple dozen. It is darn near impossible to be drowsy with an atomic fireball in your mouth.

Sometimes, though, if you really are tired, none of the above will do it. This used to happen to me when I kayaked more. Anyone into whitewater kayaking will tell you that there is usually a several hour drive on either end of the day. Which usually means getting up really early in the morning. Adrenaline usually keeps you going just fine for the morning drive. But the one home can be brutal, after getting up at 5:30 or something, driving three hours, and spending the day on the river in the hot sun. Times like that, sometimes you just have to pull over, put your head on the steering wheel, and sleep for 20 minutes.

Be careful with that, though, if you have somewhere to be. I once made a four hour drive in the middle of final exams to go to a dance with a girl on a Friday night. I had a final in molecular biology on Saturday that I hadn't studied for. I got up really early Saturday morning, after being up till all hours Friday night, so I could get back in time to study before my 2pm exam. Halfway back, I couldn't keep going. So I stopped, put my head on the steering wheel.... And woke up three hours later. The adrenaline sure did keep me going the rest of THAT drive. Had about an hour to study. But I got an A (in the course, anyway, probably not on the final), so I guess it was all good. And Friday night would have been worth a B. Priorities.

-Mo
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Post by sysiphus » Mon May 14, 2007 7:36 am

MOSES wrote:Also, I love atomic fireballs. The big ones that come loose in the bin.
I have the big "candy store" bin in front of me right now! Sam's Club is the best place in the world for ALL your tooth-rotting needs!
David
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Post by nteeman » Mon May 14, 2007 7:39 am

Hmm...it doesn't seem you have any trouble falling asleep while driving, I think you meant 'trouble staying awake while driving.' I agree this can be a real problem. The advice given seems so far seem like good suggestions.

Good luck.
-Neal (DE user since 1998)
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Austin
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Post by Austin » Mon May 14, 2007 7:58 am

If it's fatigue than more rest is warranted before driving. Perhaps you have a medical condition that warrants seeing doctor. There are a number of medical conditions that can make you fall asleep at the wheel.

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Post by bsolis1 » Mon May 14, 2007 8:24 am

I have tried a lot of tricks like these when doing long hauls on the NYS thruway, but for some reason I have only found one that works. If it's any help, chewing ice is my trick. I just stop at a rest stop, get a big cup from one of the fast food places, fill it with ice and chomp away at a steady pace. I've tried everything from assaulting my legs and leaving my left hand out the window in snow storms to nuts/seeds and loud music. Ice is the only way.

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Post by scruffy » Mon May 14, 2007 9:06 am

I find that sipping a warm beverage helps. i said sipping not gulping. Drink it real slow; and swish it around your mouth.

Also, keeping the window open on a cool night.
Ed

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wenestvedt
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Post by wenestvedt » Mon May 14, 2007 9:48 am

Mo, I agree: sing loudly -- and poorly -- as you drive. Also roll down the windows to share your "gift" with people living along the road and get some cool air in the car.

- Will

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Post by GollyMrScience » Mon May 14, 2007 10:14 am

I did an impromptu test of the ice theory several years ago.
In the days before cup holders I would carry my ice filled drink cup between my legs on the seat. Guy up ahead of me cut me off in my lane and when I went to hit the brake I squished that large paper cup almost flat blowing the lid off and sending ice water and ice out the top so hard it hit the roof of my vehicle. The water and ice shower on my lap followed by sitting in an ice and water puddle on the seat kept me alert for a long, long time.
-Tom-

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JohnSmith
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Post by JohnSmith » Mon May 14, 2007 1:04 pm

I have tried many of these methods too. When I get a candy bar, though, I usually go for something really chewy like taffy or a Charleston Chew. The chewier it is, the better. I imagine it has the same effect as singing or chewing gum. It just helps me to really get my jaw moving.
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