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Drive Alert, Arrive Safe - Better Sleep Could Cut Serious Road Accidents By A Third
Date:3/17/2009

Driving hazards caused by sleepiness highlighted on World Sleep Day

NEW YORK, March 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Improved diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders could help to cut fatal or serious road traffic accidents by up to one third, according to the World Association of Sleep Medicine. The announcement has been made on the second annual World Sleep Day, March 20, an international event aimed at raising awareness of the burden and impact of sleep disorders. World Sleep Day is an annual event to raise awareness of the importance of sleep for good health. This year's slogan is 'Drive alert, arrive safe'. The event is organized by the World Sleep Day Committee of the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) and aims to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders.

The day also highlights the dangers of drowsy driving which can lead to accidents caused by people suffering next day effects of sleep problems, such as excessive daytime sleepiness and poor concentration.

Catesby Ware, Chief of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School, USA says, "In the USA, 40,000-50,000 people die yearly in traffic accidents. Up to 20% are thought related to fatigue and tiredness. Sleepiness, like drinking alcohol, destabilizes the car's position on the road. Experiencing sleepiness whilst driving and driving under the influence of alcohol are similarly deadly."

To help cut the risk of sleepiness while driving, Ware emphasizes the importance of understanding what is needed to ensure wakefulness when driving. "Just as important as knowing how to get a good night of sleep, is learning what it takes to stay awake. These include getting sufficient, quality sleep, having regular bed and rising times, taking regular breaks when driving, and using caffeine judiciously."

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SOURCE World Association of Sleep Medicine
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