Sleep Apnea And How To Stay Awake Behind The Wheel.

If you can’t save others, at least save yourself! This is a story of Theodore Mathis, a middle-aged bachelor who worked as a librarian at a school library. He didn’t have much family, although one or two distant relatives lived not very far away, they didn’t have a lot in common seeing as their ages were far apart. You could also count his friends with your one hand and they were mostly from the workplace. Known to be a loner, he was a kind soul nonetheless who apart from never having been out of line, was ready to help anyone who might happen to ask for help. You could say he was loved by the students he served for the last twenty or so years by the patience he had in dealing with unending queries of the whereabouts of books from young people who were too lazy to search for the locations.

One sunny early afternoon in July of 2010, he rammed his old yellow pick-up truck at a tree as he was travelling south on the Sunshine Motorway in Maroochydore. He was dead when found. And alone. But thank goodness for that! He had spent the night at the library performing an annual inventory of the books and proceeded to run some errands the morning after. After a leisurely lunch at a local burger joint, he was on his way home when the accident happened. You guessed it. Another case of drowsy driving, but with a twist. The coroner discovered he had sleep apnea. If only he had known how to stay awake when it was necessary.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder wherein the airways of the body are blocked and causes difficult breathing. One sign of this is feeling excessively sleepy during daytime which can be attributed to the fact that restful and genuine sleep is not achieved during the night on account of the problem. This essentially results to a deprivation of quality sleep leading to the problem of how to stay awake to perform tasks such as driving.

This disorder can be effectively treated with a therapy called the Continous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP, but the success rate only went as far as 70% of the population tested. Additionally, those who were eventually successful in treating their sleep apnea did so painstakingly with an average of four hours every night (which is not possible for everyone). This according to a recent published study in the Sleep journal which also claimed that persons with this illness are potentially the ones driving and the cause of an accident by three to five times. Thus learning how to stay awake on the wheel is potentially a life saver.

So what are the options for drivers with this kind of illness? Well, the choices are few and far between. Fortunately, technology has been very kind as to have produced sleep alarms which are non-invasive external attachments that monitor body signs that trigger or lead to drowsiness or intense drowsiness then gives the wearer a jolt by sounding off a sleep alarm. This is the beauty of this technology – that it enables the disabled driver and teaches him how to stay awake.