With the clocks moving forward an hour this past week, this is a good time to have discussions about drowsy driving in Hollywood and across Florida. Daylight Savings Time is intended to make things more convenient by making sure we’re not heading to work and school in the dark during the winter months and it allows us to enjoy more sunshine in the spring and summer. However, that comes with a cost
Some experts believe the week after we adjust our clocks can mean an increase in traffic accidents as our bodies adjust to the new sleep schedule. For many Florida residents, setting the clocks forward an hour means going to bed at the same time and rising at the same time, which means an hour less of sleep, which is linked to slower response times and increased drowsiness.
Even if you don’t feel sleepy, you may have slower response times and can still be affected by lack of sleep. Losing even one hour of sleep can interrupt your REM sleep, which usually occurs during the second half of the night and is linked to cognitive function. This week, there are a few things you’ll want to do to stay safer on the roads:
1) Give yourself time to adjust.
If possible, get extra sleep by retiring early or sleeping in a little. Do not keep hitting your snooze button, since this is linked to lower quality sleep. Instead, set your alarm for a little later and get up at that time. Gradually adjust to your usual routine.
2) Change up your route.
Taking a new route to work forces you to stay more alert, which can mean you are less likely to daydream.
3) Stay alert for any symptoms.
Make sure you do not have a sleep disorder or aren’t having trouble adjusting to the new time. If you notice drowsiness or other symptoms past the week, see a doctor.
4) Practice good sleep hygiene.
You will have the best sleep if you follow a few basic rules before bed:
- Create a comfortable space in your bedroom
- Do not bring work into your bedroom, so you can relax when you retire
- Avoid drinking and eating before bed, since this can affect your sleep
- Avoid exercising in the hours before bed, since it can keep you awake
- Stop consuming caffeine earlier in the day
- Create a dark environment with no screens in your bedroom
- Keep your bedroom a comfortable temperature
- Create a quiet space in your bedroom or use a white noise machine or earplugs for a restful sleep
5) Make sleep a routine.
Go through the same routine each day, so your body learns to anticipate sleep and falls more easily into a state of relaxation so you can drift off. About an hour before you want to go to sleep, stop work and any activity which is physically or mentally stimulating. Slow down and try some relaxing activities so your mind and body can naturally enter a sleep state.
If you are in a car accident in Hollywood and think the other driver may be at fault or if you have questions about insurance, contact a Hollywood car accident attorney by contacting Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation.