In the field of road safety there is a new finding that so far has not been taken into account. If an accident is happening due to alcohol, very often a lack of sleep and above all an accumulated lack of sleep is the real cause or at least a significant co-fact! This high interaction of sleep and alcohol has been discovered by a study of the Henry Ford Hospital Sleep Disorders Center in Detroit. A group of volunteers slept ten hours per night for one week, a further week eight hours and in a third phase simulated a sociable weekend and slept only five hours per night for two nights. In the morning after each phase all volunteers either got a small dose of alcohol or a placebo. Afterwards, their degree of impaired attention was determined by an awareness- and performance-test.
After the participants got their small dose of alcohol after the week with ten hours of sleep, the impairment of this group was slightly higher than of the group with the placebo. After sleeping only five hours per night for two nights, the same amount of alcohol had a much stronger effect. The participants got very sleepy and were hardly able to stay awake.
With this finding, everyone is able to enormously raise his or her own road safety, just by completely avoiding alcohol in a phase of consistent lack of sleep! Because, even a minor alcohol consumption in combination with a prevailing sleep debt can lead to the so far sparsely noticed “sleep debt-alcohol-syndrome”, that is having an extremely sedating effect and is leading to a fatal exhaustion at the wheel.
So – on a day with a minor sleep debt you are very much able to drive after a little drink but on the other day with a huge sleep debt and the same amount of alcohol you will become to a hazard for yourself and for others.
This post is also available in / Diesen Beitrag gibt es auch in: German