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Old 01-19-2005, 05:19 AM   #1
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Falling asleep while driving

For as long as I can remember, I have always had a problem falling asleep while driving. One time I opened my eyes and looked in my rearview mirror and noticed blue flashing lights. Don't ask me how long this cop was behind me. I asked him if I was swerving or anything, he said no, you were just going 70 in a 60. I fall asleep every morning on the way to work. But something that I did notice is it's mainly with heat. In the summer, the heat from the sun will knock me out and now that it's cold out, if I put the heater on in the car for 2 seconds, I fight to stay awake on the way to work. (I've tried loud music and rolling the windows down, doesn't work) undefinedAny ideas on what this could be? I have a dr's appt next Monday, I plan to ask him (hopefully I'll remember to this time!)... but I'm just curious if anyone else has this problem and knows what it could be.

The only other times that I fall asleep like that is in meetings at work. Even though I really am interested in the meeting, I can't stay focused, I can't concentrate and I can't stay awake.

Thanks for any info!

 
Old 01-19-2005, 05:35 AM   #2
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Re: Falling asleep while driving

Sounds like sleep apnea to me. I had similair problems staying awake, falling asleep while putting shoes on, falling asleep while eating, never could go to a movie because I would fall asleep. Found out I had severe OSA. Good thing you have an appointment made with Dr. Hopefully he will press for a sleep study to find out what is going on. In the meantime, be very careful with the driving, I have several friends who ended up in the ditch because of falling asleep. Fortunately they were not hurt, or did not kill anybody. All ended up finding that they also have sleep apnea.

Take care and let us know how it goes.

 
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Old 01-19-2005, 05:45 AM   #3
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Re: Falling asleep while driving

Thanks! I have been very lucky. It's so scary... but it's not like I can call work everyday and say hey, I'll be late today, I was falling asleep while driving and had to pull over. That just wouldn't fly on a daily basis, but I need to work too! I'll keep you posted! Thanks again!

 
Old 01-19-2005, 11:35 AM   #4
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Re: Falling asleep while driving

You are falling asleep while driving every single day!!! That's terrible! I understand that you can't quit your job, but you have to find another way to work until this is taken care of!

This is incredibly risky, studies show that sleepy drivers are just as dangerous as drunk drivers. And if this is happening every day, the odds are good that you are going to be killed, or kill someone else.

This certainly sounds like a sleep disorder, I hope the doc can figure out the problem for you.

Good luck.

 
Old 01-19-2005, 01:24 PM   #5
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Re: Falling asleep while driving

Thank you, and believe me, I know it's risky. I feel so guilty getting in the car every morning, but there are no other transportation options for me. I'm the only person in the office that lives in my town, which is 30 miles away. A cab would cost at least $60 per day, the bus doesn't run by my house. So I really don't have any other options. I wonder if there is a med that keeps you awake and focused. I guess we'll find out on Monday... thanks again.

 
Old 01-23-2005, 11:04 PM   #6
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Re: Falling asleep while driving

You will probably have seen the doctor by the time you read this. I hope you remember to ask him/her about this.

For several years I had a problem of falling asleep at the wheel, too. Most of the time it was just occasional, and was a result of getting inadequate sleep, plain and simple. But for about a year, I'd fall asleep at the wheel up to a dozen times on a 26 mile trip into a neighboring town. I even fell asleep at the stop sign a few times. I'd wake up when my chin almost bounced off my chest. Even when I was awake, I often was unable to focus my eyes. When I fell asleep and drove off the road, I finally decided I had to get off my Zoloft. The medication plus lack of sleep (I was caring for my husband 24/7 during this time) was just a very bad combination for me. So my question is: are you on any medications which might be causing this?

 
Old 01-25-2005, 05:21 AM   #7
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Re: Falling asleep while driving

The situations of you falling asleep are the exact for me. When I am able to force my eyes open, I cannot focus my eyes and I begin falling asleep again. The first time that I remember this happening was when I first began driving at age 17. I was not on any medications at that time. I have taken Zoloft in the past, but I've been off of it for about 4 months now. My doctor wants to send me for a sleep study. He believes it may be sleep apnea. I usually get 6 or 7 hours of sleep per night, so I would assume it wouldn't be lack of sleep. He prescribed a med to me that is supposed to help me stay awake, but I have to go for a sleep study.

Does anyone know if sleep studies are done in a hospital? My father in law has problems with not be able to sleep. They gave him the equipment to take home for his sleep study. Any ideas on what I should expect?

Thanks! I'll keep all of you posted.

 
Old 01-26-2005, 06:09 AM   #8
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Re: Falling asleep while driving

Well I tried the medication this morning and it worked! It's called Provigil. VERY EXPENSIVE!!! Insurance wouldn't cover it, so yeah, for 30 tablets, $154!!!! I can't see paying that once a month.

I'm supposed to call my doc tomorrow regarding the sleep study. I'll keep you posted. Thanks again for the advise and support!

 
Old 01-26-2005, 06:28 AM   #9
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Re: Falling asleep while driving

Hello Wanna-b-free
I did have my Sleep Study in the Hospital. But it was done a little differently then most sleep center's. The first night was to find out if I did indeed have sleep apnea. When I went to the hospital I was a little shocked as they had a full sized bed for me. I had expected a hospital bed. It had taken the technician approximately 40 minutes to get all the electrodes hooked up to my head, chest, feet, legs, etc. I also had to fill out some paper work prior to the test. I had also expected that they would be watching me while I slept. I guess I watch to much tv....lol But they have an intercom system were they can hear you through out the night. I watched about an hour of television and then feel asleep. Yes, they also provided a TV. About 5:30am they had woke me up, and began to remove all the wires. They would not give me any information of the results of the sleep study. They told me that my doctor would receive them within 10 days. I made an appointment to see my primary and he went over the report with me and provided me with a copy. They did find that I have Sleep Apnea. Then I had to schedule the second part of the study which is the CPAP Titration. Again they had to apply all the electrodes to my body. This time they had to fit me for the CPAP mask. After I got used to breathing with the mask on my nose, I then laid down and tried to go to sleep. Also the technician explained to me that he would be adjusting the pressure through out the night to find what would be the best pressure for me. I did awake twice that night and tried pulling the mask off my face. I think it was too much pressure for me, but I am not sure as to what exactly happened. It is also a possibility that I tried breathing through my mouth and that is why I woke up. When you wear the mask, you are only supposed to breathe through your nose. I only had my CPAP titration last Monday and haven't gotten the results yet from my primary doctor. The technician once again said he couldn't give me information but, he did give me the mask to take home. So I believe that means that the machine would be a benefit to me. The technician also explained to me that in rare cases that the CPAP doesn't always help. I don't know if this is how your hospital will perform your Sleep Study, but mine did it in two parts. I wish you the very best.
Jeanne

 
Old 01-26-2005, 09:54 PM   #10
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Re: Falling asleep while driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanna-b-free
I usually get 6 or 7 hours of sleep per night, so I would assume it wouldn't be lack of sleep.
What makes you think that this is an adequate amount of sleep? Did you tell your doc that you get so little sleep? Although many people think 8 hours is the ideal, everyone is different and MANY people need 9 hours of sleep per night, or more.

6-7 hours per night is probably just not enough sleep for you! I don't think it would be for most people. Chronic sleep deprivation could absolutely be causing the symptoms you described.

Have you tried just getting more sleep? Keep in mind that one or two nights isn't going to do it, you would need weeks or months of adequate sleep to really judge the effects.

Good luck.

 
Old 01-27-2005, 10:00 AM   #11
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Re: Falling asleep while driving

What makes me think this is an adequate amount is because as you've said, people think 8 hours is ideal. I am not a doctor and I have never studied or researched info on sleep. I did share the amount of sleep with my doctor. I have tried getting more sleep, the longer I sleep, the harder it is for me to get up in the morning, and I'm usually tired all day. I haven't had the time to do it for months to judge the effects.

And 6 or 7 hours is really all I can do for now. If it were up to me, and not my body and mind, I'd get alot less sleep than that. I have a full schedule and still don't get everything done each day.

And when the problem started, me falling asleep while driving, I was 18 years old. I used to get plenty of sleep at that age. So I am not sure if my "sleep deprivation" now would be causing it.

Thanks for the info! I'll keep ya posted!

 
Old 01-27-2005, 02:02 PM   #12
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Re: Falling asleep while driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanna-b-free
If it were up to me, and not my body and mind, I'd get alot less sleep than that. I have a full schedule and still don't get everything done each day.
I completely understand, there never seems to be enough time. I think most people, or at least most Americans, would agree with you.

But, (my doc and I actually talked about this yesterday) many people seem to think of sleep as a matter of will. If they have a lot going on in their lives, sleep is the first thing they sacrifice. And that's no good.

One thing that has really helped me get my own sleep disorder under better control, and has made me feel better about myself in general, is realizing that I cannot force myself to need/want less sleep. And that the amount of time I spend sleeping isn't something to be ashamed about, because it isn't something I can control.

My previous attitude was that I slept too much because I lacked the willpower not to. So when I started sleeping 15+ hours per day, I thought it was a personal failure. I was depressed and disgusted with myself, and that kept me from getting to a doctor and finding out what was really going on.

Now that I have finally gotten treatment, I am fascinated by the way sleep is viewed in our society.

Best of luck with your sleep study, I am sure that you will be able to get some help!

 
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