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Can Sleep Deprivation Become Emergency?
#31
RE: Can Sleep Deprivation Become Emergency?
Perhaps it is time to draw the distinction between sleep apnea and sleep deprivation. If sleep apnea caused the accidents referenced here, then everyone with a diagnosis of sleep apnea, and everyone on this board, should have their license revoked and shouldn't even be permitted to ride a bicycle. Sleep apnea did not cause these accidents; sleep deprivation did.

Not everyone with sleep apnea suffers sleep deprivation. Not everyone with sleep deprivation has sleep apnea. In fact, not everyone who feels drowsy while driving long distances has either sleep apnea or sleep deprivation. (One reason to take driving breaks on long distances is to avoid drowsiness, and certainly take a break if there is drowsiness.)

There is finally more awareness of sleep deprivation, and therefore the possibility of sleep apnea, within the medical community and hopefully public at large, due to the number of road and train accidents. Limits on the road time for long distance truckers was instituted due to the number of accidents that investigation showed was due to drivers falling asleep. Not all those drivers had sleep apnea. They were sleep deprived. (And I think those regulations have been repealed this past year.)  Airline plots have restrictions of the number of continuous hours of flight time, not because they all have sleep apnea but because sleep deprivation must be avoided. There also should be more awareness, in my opinion, of the possibility of sleep apnea as a complicating factor in cardiovascular illness, independent of sleep deprivation.

In my case, I should not have submitted to my doctor's pooh-poohing of my complaints. I felt foolish and like a complainer. After all, there is a drop in insulin after eating which can lead to drowsiness. Lots of people snore and stop breathing occasionally. Lots of people feel tired, and fatigued, and don't sleep well. Especially if they are borderline obese women, or old women, or women who have children or work outside the home or inside the home or on a computer.

I would not have driven the day of my accident if I felt sleepy or drowsy. I have since read that chronic sleep deprivation can cause people to adapt to their impairments so that they do not recognize them.

The trip I will do will be eight driving hours. I will have backup alarms for myself because . . . why not? My sleep apnea numbers are well within the "treated" levels (though I'd like them even better "just because") and much lower than most posters here.  I can qualify for a private pilot's license because my sleep apnea is treated, but I shouldn't have a driver's license? I haven't felt drowsy after eating ever since I started cpap. I've accepted that I don't have a 9 to 5 day sleep pattern so I get my 7-8 hours on my schedule and don't make any appointments or events in the morning.

Who here is giving up their driver's license because they've been diagnosed with sleep apnea?
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