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What should you do to combat fatigue and sleepiness during long road trip? What should you do to combat fatigue and sleepiness during long road trip?

  • A. Stop every once in a while and rest

  • B. Drink medicine that will prevent sleepiness

  • C. Drink alcohol

    The correct answer is A
    If you are driving, the best and safest thing to do if you are fatigued and sleepy is to pull over to get some sleep. You may want to sip some coffee, too, once awake before heading back to the road.

Things that makes you sleepy when you’re driving


Biological clock

If you usually go to bed at 10pm it is very likely that you’ll feel sleepy if you drive at that time. This is because your biological clock is adapted to feel sleepy at around that time.


Driving at night

This is particularly a hazard for those who drive on night shifts, such as truck, bus, and taxi drivers, because our bodies are designed and conditioned to associate darkness with going to bed.


Food intake

There are certain types of food that can make you feel sleepy, e.g. a heavy meal with lots of protein and fat would make you feel tired because it’s harder to digest so your body focuses your energy on your digestion, and uses a lot of water to process the food, which can cause dehydration.

Taking in sugar will also make you sleepy because it inhibits orexin (a brain chemical that keeps you awake). Ideally you’d want to take in both sugar and protein (in moderate quantity) at the same time as protein incites the orexin to help you keep awake.


Physical training

Prolonged exercise incites cortisol production (a.k.a. stress hormone) which would make you feel fatigued and sleepy.


Iron deficiency

People with low iron levels could feel lethargic and tired which are two common iron-deficient symptoms.


Comfortable seats

Modern vehicles are very comfortable, perhaps just as we are used to falling asleep on the couch so the reclined position of many car seats could reproduce this feeling.


Mental tiredness

Mental tiredness can kick-in during a long and challenging drive, and conversely during a long non-stimulating drive, boredom and sleepiness may set in.


To know how to counter sleepiness when driving, click here.