We can never say it enough–don’t drive when you’re feeling drowsy, even if you’re only a few blocks away from your destination.

Researchers say that people feel the sleepiest between 2:00 A.M. and 4:00 A.M. and 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. because this is when the body’s circadian rhythm dips and signals rest. If a person lacks sleep the previous night or hasn’t gotten any rest for more than 24 hours, the decline becomes more significant, Science Daily reports.

“When you are sleep-deprived for more than 24 hours, you need stronger sensory stimulation to maintain alertness,” says sleep medicine doctor Xue Ming of the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark. “Sensory input such as light, noise, and touch keeps people alert, but when there’s little stimulation, the brain will drift into a full sleep state or a micro sleep… He might even still have his eyes open–but he is actually asleep.”

If you’re driving and feeling undeniably drowsy, researchers say that it’s best to have two cups of coffee or any caffeinated beverage. You can also pull over in a safe, well-lit place and take a 20-minute power nap. If you think that the urge to sleep is too powerful, park your car in a secure area, and call somebody to take you home.

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(Photo by Michael Himbeault via Flickr Creative Commons)

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