Parents make a lot of sacrifices for their children over the years. It starts shortly after a child enters their life, in the form of sleep deprivation. When their child wakes up in the night, they wake up too, but they don’t necessarily go back to sleep when their child does. Household chores, going to work, and running errands take precedence to sleep, and often when parents do get a moment, it’s in the car. For many, it’s when they are behind the wheel that drowsiness hits them, and it can spell disaster.
Sleep, in a Perfect World
Sleep specialists recommend that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. If you’re a parent, this might seem like a pipe dream. However, it does help to keep the goal in mind as you sleep throughout the day. Recently, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported a strong spike in automobile crashes for those who did not consistently get at least seven hours of sleep. Those who only manage 5-6 hours for every 24 hours were twice as likely to get into a motor vehicle accident, and those who tried to get by with 4-5 hours had a crash rate that was four times higher, rivaling drunk drivers.
In a perfect world, parents would be able to go to bed at a consistent time, and wake up eight hours later, refreshed for the day. But just as parents need to get creative when taking care of their kids, they sometimes need to do the same when taking care of themselves. To reduce the risk of a car accident, they may be able to reduce the amount of driving they do by taking public transportation, or signing up for delivery services, such as diapers or groceries. And they can try to make up at least some of their sleep through naps. While even a ten minute nap can help, it is best to make up as much of the missed sleep as possible.
Getting in Naps
Naps have been endorsed by various famous intellectuals such as Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, and Thomas Edison. Naps have been shown to improve logical reasoning, decision making, and help with information retention, alertness, positive mood and productivity. If you are at home, try to catch a nap when your child does. If you’re at work, take a long lunch and sleep for half the time, or take a quick snooze in your car at the end of the day before driving home. If you’re sleepy, sleep needs to be a priority. Studies show even ten minutes can help you stay alert for important tasks, including driving.
While you can take steps to control your own sleepiness and fatigue level, your power may be limited when it comes to everyone else. Whether people are parents or not, many put a low priority on sleep, and you can never tell who on the road may be driving in a compromised state. If you’re injured in an accident, and the obvious ailments of distraction or alcohol consumption aren’t present, the other driver may have been too fatigued. A good personal injury attorney can help investigate the true cause of the accident, as well as the impact of your injuries and help you build a strong case to receive the best possible compensation.