Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sleep problems and sleepiness increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents in adolescents

Date:
February 15, 2010
Source:
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Summary:
Sleepiness at the wheel and poor sleep quality significantly increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents in adolescents.

A study in the Feb. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine shows that sleepiness at the wheel and poor sleep quality significantly increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents in adolescents.

Results indicate that adolescent drivers were twice as likely to have had a crash if they experienced sleepiness while driving (adjusted odds ratio = 2.1) or reported having bad sleep (OR = 1.9). Eighty of the 339 students had already crashed at least once, and 15 percent of them considered sleepiness to have been the main cause of the crash. Fifty-six percent of students who had at least one previous crash reported driving while sleepy, compared with 35 percent of subjects who had not been in a crash.

Lead author Fabio Cirignotta, M.D., professor of neurology at the University of Bologna in Italy, said that the only effective countermeasure to drowsiness is to stop driving immediately, pull over to a safe place and nap for 10 to15 minutes.

"Commonly used countermeasures to fatigue, such as opening the window, listening to the radio, or drinking a coffee, are known to be short-lasting and, essentially, useless," said Cirignotta. "Moreover, if a subject perceives sleepiness, he or she would probably already have a reduced performance at the wheel, and nobody can safely detect the real instant when sleep is starting in order to stop driving at that time."

This cross-sectional study was conducted in 2004 and was supported by the Italian Ministry of Education. Self-administered questionnaires were distributed to 339 students who had a driver's license and were in their last two years of attendance at one of seven high schools in Bologna. Students were between the ages of 18 and 21 years (mean 18.4 years), and 58 percent of them were male.

Questions concerned lifestyle habits, nocturnal sleep habits, symptoms suggesting sleep disorders, and a subjective report of daytime sleepiness. Driving habits and sleepiness at the wheel were evaluated by questions assessing the frequency and timing of car use and accidents, the perceived causes of vehicle crashes and the respondents' coping methods for dealing with sleepiness while driving.

Results show that students suffered from chronic sleep deprivation. Although they reported that their sleep need was a mean of 9.2 hours per night, the students reported sleeping for an average of only 7.3 hours on weeknights. Only six percent of students slept nine hours or more on weeknights, and 58 percent tried to catch up by sleeping nine hours or more on weekends.

Sleep problems also were commonly reported by the students. Forty-five percent woke up at least once during the night with trouble falling asleep again, 40 percent complained of difficulties in morning awakening and 19 percent reported bad sleep. The combination of chronic sleep loss and poor sleep quality had a negative effect on their alertness, as 64 percent of participants complained of excessive daytime sleepiness.

The study also found an increased risk of car accidents in men (OR = 3.3) and smokers (OR = 3.2). The authors suggested that the use of tobacco could be an indirect estimate of unhealthy lifestyle habits, as well as a method of counteracting sleepiness.

According to the authors, the study emphasizes the need for education programs that target adolescents with information about improving sleep habits, the importance of sleep and the dangers of sleep deprivation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Fabio Cirignotta et al. Sleep Quality and Motor Vehicle Crashes in Adolescents. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, (in press)

Cite This Page:

American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Sleep problems and sleepiness increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents in adolescents." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100215081728.htm>.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2010, February 15). Sleep problems and sleepiness increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents in adolescents. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100215081728.htm
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Sleep problems and sleepiness increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents in adolescents." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100215081728.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins