Drowsy Driving on the Rise: Be Safe & Get to Sleep!

drowsy driving report

While you may never drive drunk and you’ve trained yourself to put the phone down and not text while driving, you may still be at risk of operating your car when you are way too tired.

The potentially fatal effects of drowsy driving are in the news again with the Governors Highway Safety Association’s new report showing that nearly 83.6 million sleep-deprived Americans are driving every day. While the actual numbers of accidents and fatalities are difficult to determine, the AAA Foundation estimates drowsiness causes an average 328,000 crashes per year, with 109,000 involving 6,400 fatalities.

drowsy driving fatalities

“Drowsy driving is more pervasive than we recognize, more commonplace and we’re all guilty of it,” said Pam Fischer, a former New Jersey highway safety official who wrote the report released this week. “And we have the ability to correct it. The fix is simple: Get more sleep.”

The bottom line is that too many of us are accepting sleep deprivation as the new normal. If the adverse health effects won’t lead you to treatment, the even scarier possibilities of a serious car accident should be that wake-up call. Plus, any motorist who has been awake for an extended period of time can experience performance deficits similar to that of someone who has been drinking. If you haven’t slept in 21 hours, you could have the same reaction time as someone with an alcohol concentration of 0.08%.

BAC drowsy driving

Sleep needs change for different age groups, but the average adult needs 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Do you get 9 hours of sleep? Do you know anyone who does?

Changing Your Sleep Habits

It’s time to change our habits and get help. First, try some of our Sleep Health Tips to switch up your behavior and cultivate good sleep hygiene. If trying those ideas don’t help, you may have a health problem hampering your ability to get to sleep or stay asleep. Talk to your doctor about how much and how well you are sleeping.

Once you can rule out environmental or possible medication side effects as the culprits, you may want to see a sleep specialist or do a sleep study. One of the usual suspects, obstructive sleep apnea, has several treatment options that get people back to sleep without medication. Some people even show improvement with new dental sleep treatments. Whatever the root cause of your short sleep nights, there is probably a treatment to help you get back to sleep and down the road safely.

Independent Northshore Sleep Medicine Accepts Most Insurance Plans

NorthShore Sleep Medicine

As the latest changes in insurance plans affect many patients and healthcare providers, our Northshore Sleep Medicine team would like to assure you that we continue to accept all major insurance plans. In fact, Northshore Sleep Medicine is NOT affiliated with any local healthcare institutions, so we are able to be in network with several different insurance companies, including BlueCross BlueShield Illinois PPO policies, as well as their Blue Choice policies.

BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois has been in the news recently as they dropped a popular health plan which had provided those patients access to most of the hospital and health systems on Chicago’s North Shore. However, we want to clarify that our center is not in any way affiliated with “NorthShore University HealthSystems”. Therefore, our physician owned sleep center is unaffected by this change. If you would like to read more about the news item, check out these articles:

Please see our website’s Insurance Info page for details or call us at 847-674-3600 if you have any questions.

Founded in 2007, the physician owned and operated Northshore Sleep Medicine is a private medical facility dedicated to providing comprehensive diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of all major sleep disorders in adults and children.

Time Change & Your Sleep Schedule

How to Manage the Time Change

Light is the primary cue for how well we sleep. We might all have different sleep schedules, but the morning sun tends to be a strong beacon to get out of bed. Regardless of your personal bedtime and rising habits, the seasonal time changes can disrupt your sleep.
sleep and time change

If you tend to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, then just going to bed a little bit later for a few nights before the time change may help you adjust more quickly. But if you get by on 6 hours or less more often than not, you may have more trouble adapting.

Try to avoid alcohol or caffeine before bedtime and minimize or eliminate using electronics or watching TV. Those light cues trick your brain into wakefulness making adjustments to the time change more difficult. And don’t stay up extra late Saturday night…which admittedly may be a bit tricky if you’re going to a Halloween party.

Most importantly, if you have trouble sleeping or feel fatigued even with a so-called “decent” night’s sleep, we can help. Avoid any spooky consequences — like drowsy driving —and visit us to get your sleep health on track.

Health Professional Office Space Available in Evanston

Northshore Sleep MedicineNewly remodeled office space is now available exclusively for qualified medical and/or behavioral health professionals at Northshore Sleep Medicine, 3451 Church Street.

As our physicians focus on sleep medicine exclusively, we would welcome the addition of another health professional to the building. Come see our beautiful, newly renovated office space, perfect for physicians, nutritionists/dieticians, psychologists, chiropractors and other licensed health care practitioners.

Located in a quiet neighborhood in Evanston, Illinois, near Skokie, Northshore Sleep Medicine is convenient to Chicago and the northern suburbs. Physician owned and operated, this private medical facility is designed completely for patient convenience and comfort. Free parking to the rear of the single-story building is well-lit, while the building and the surrounding neighborhood feels quite safe. Most importantly, because we are a free-standing medical center, there are none of the hassles of a hospital setting.

Northshore Sleep MedicineYour lease can include the following amenities:

  • Private treatment room for your practice with comfortable waiting area for clients and patients.
  • Use of our friendly administrative staff.
  • Private voicemail extension on the phone system.
  • Access to fax machine and copier.
  • Use of a communal kitchen area.
  • Janitorial services.
  • Free parking.
  • Separate storage space for extra equipment and supplies.
  • Opportunity for referrals and collaboration as appropriate.

The office/treatment rooms can be customized to meet your needs. Affordable monthly leases are available and the terms and amount of lease are negotiable. Interested parties should be fully licensed, HIPAA-compliant professionals.

Contact Giulia Alexandru at 847-674-3600 ext 211 or click here to email to learn more, schedule a tour of the space and learn more about the benefits of working at our center.

See photos and more information about Northshore Sleep Medicine.


Happy Holidays from Northshore Sleep Medicine

Northshore Sleep Holiday PartyWishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season!

Our Northshore Sleep Medicine team celebrated in a colorful way. Thanks to Brunswick Bowling in Niles for such a fun day on the lanes. While we’re not quite sure if the day-glo style helped anyone’s game, even the kids loved every minute of it. See more of our snapshots on our Facebook page >>

Why Do We Sleep?

sleeping boyIn the field of sleep medicine one would always ask “Why do we sleep?” And “If we don’t sleep, what would happen?” Well, we don’t have the answer to the first question yet, although there is a lot of research trying to find the answer. Regarding the second question personal experience tells us that if we don’t sleep one night, we suffer the consequences the next day; one feels sleepy, fatigued, irritable, tired, unmotivated, etc. Each one of us can generate a long list of symptoms that we are all familiar with. So why do we feel that way or why do we sleep so we can avoid the symptoms of sleep deprivation?

Research on rodents has shown that if rats are forced to stay awake long enough they will eventually die, usually in a matter of weeks. The same fatal ending does not happen to humans because the human brain will manage to get brief periods of sleep despite attempted continuous wakefulness. This observation clearly tells us that sleep is very important to our health. Many theories were put forth to explain the above phenomenon including: the need for restoration, adaptation, growth, memory? But the simple answer is we just don’t know exactly why we need to sleep.

Like every other field in medicine there is a limit to what we know and we continue to study sleep hoping that one day we will have the answer. Meanwhile it is good to keep in mind what Thomas Dekker said: “Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together”.

A Trip to A Sleep Specialist Can Save Your Life

an apple a dayAs with any typical day for a sleep clinic, a patient was referred to me to evaluate her for insomnia. After my extensive  evaluation of her, I listened to her carotid arteries and heard bruit. “Bruit” is a noisy blood flow suggestive of narrowing of an artery. I asked her if her carotid artery was known to be narrowed or “clogged up”. She said, “No.” So I urged her to make an appointment with her primary care physician right away for further evaluation. He ordered an ultrasound of the carotid arteries which also suggested that she has carotid artery stenosis (which means narrow blood vessel). An angiogram was performed later, being the ultimate test for the assessment of this condition. The angiogram confirmed the presence of severe Carotid Artery Stenosis. The standard treatment for severe stenosis is surgery.

So this patient who went to see a sleep doctor ended up having carotid surgery. She went ahead with the surgery and afterwards called to thank me for making the diagnosis before she had  symptoms or complications from Carotid Artery Stenosis. The initial symptom could have led to a transient ischemic attack or stroke. I have not seen her in a long time because her insomnia did not require further intervention. But her trip to see me saved her from a possible disabling stroke or even death.

I learned a lot from this event. One lesson in particular is that a physician should look out for the health of his or her patient even if it is something unrelated to one’s specialty.

Kids Need Sleep

Child Sleep ProblemsNorthshore Sleep Medicine is dedicated to the comprehensive diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of child sleep problems, including all major sleep disorders in children and adolescents.

Do you know if your child is getting good sleep?

  • Is your child or teenager showing signs of having trouble getting or staying asleep?
  • Has your child been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD but the treatment protocols don’t seem to work?

Even changes in energy level or school reports can be connected to sleep issues. Find out if helping them sleep better will improve their health and other aspects of their lives.

Our sleep experts can help. For more information, visit our Kids Need Sleep web site.

Call 847-674-3600 for an appointment and help your child sleep tight and stay healthy.

Sleep Health Services

Nortshore Sleep study bedroom

The sleep experts at Northshore Sleep Medicine are dedicated to the comprehensive diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of all major sleep disorders in adults and children.

Suffering from sleep problems?

  • Do you struggle with insomnia?
  • Do you suspect you have sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep?
  • Is your child or teenager showing signs of having trouble getting or staying asleep?

Our expert sleep doctors can help. Call 847-674-3600 to book your appointment. Get the help you need to get the sleep you deserve. Learn more about our Sleep Health Services.