How to Avoid Driver Fatigue These Holidays

The statistics are eye opening. Driver fatigue contributes to approximately 10 to 20 per cent of all road accidents. This means that up to one in every five accidents can be attributed, at least in part, to drivers like you being too tired. The number could be even higher as fatigue, unlike alcohol and drugs, cannot be easily tested for.

Driver fatigue also known as drowsy driving, occurs when you are too tired to stay focused on the road. It is like trying to stay awake during a boring movie – only this time, your life is on the line. It slows your reaction time, slowing down and reducing your ability to make quick decisions.

Long lazy days and long drives

Holidays can be synonymous with long road trips. And even if you think you are alert, or you have pumped yourself up on caffeine, the monotony can lull you into a dangerous state of fatigue.

But what makes driver fatigue so dangerous on holiday drives?

Extended hours on the road: Holiday drives often involve vast distances, especially when you are trying to “avoid the crowds” and reach that perfect stopping place or get to your destination as fast as you can. These journeys can take many hours or even days. The longer you are on the road, the greater the risk of fatigue.

Heat and storms: If you are driving in summer, heat can make you even drowsier, even with the aircon blasting. And severe weather like storms, and driving in a downpour or sudden storm can increase stress levels and make you more susceptible to fatigue.

Traffic congestion: You know the feeling… crawling along in a traffic jam, not knowing when it is going to clear. The kids are getting restless and its adding hours to your trip. These traffic jams can be physically and mentally draining, increasing the likelihood of drowsiness.

How to avoid driver fatigue

Get a good night’s sleep: Before you even start your journey, make sure you have had a proper night’s sleep. Aim for at least seven to nine hours of shut-eye. Sleep is like fuel for your body, and starting your trip well-rested will give you the best chance of staying alert.

Plan your stops: Do not be in a hurry to reach your destination. Plan regular breaks along the way, about every two hours or 200 kilometres (125 miles). These breaks will not only help you stretch your legs but also give your mind a chance to reset. Use this time to enjoy a quick snack, hydrate, and get some fresh air.

Avoid long drives at night: Your body’s internal clock is naturally inclined to rest during the night. Avoid scheduling long drives during these hours. If possible, stick to driving during daylight when your body is more alert.

Stay hydrated: Dehydration can make you feel tired and sluggish. Always keep a water bottle within reach and take sips regularly. Avoid excessive caffeine or sugary drinks, as they may provide a quick energy boost but can lead to a crash later on.

Eat healthy snacks: Pack some healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, and whole-grain crackers. These will provide a steady supply of energy and keep your hunger at bay without causing a sugar rush and crash.

Listen to engaging music or podcasts: Keep your mind active by listening to upbeat music or podcasts that keep you focused and alert.

Recognise signs of fatigue: Know the warning signs of driver fatigue: yawning, heavy eyelids, drifting out of your lane, and trouble keeping your head up. If you notice any of these, it is time to pull over and rest.

What Happens to My Body If I Regularly Climb Stairs

Stairclimbing is a fancy term for what many of us do every day: take the stairs. Research proves that intentionally climbing stairs is a great, often under-estimated workout. Here are the changes you can expect if you regularly climb stairs.

You will condition your muscles

Going up and down stairs activates multiple large muscles, including your glutes (butt), hamstrings, quadriceps (thighs) and calves. You are also switching on your core muscles with your abs and lower back.

Plus, you have the extra resistance of gravity. It is called “vertical displacement” and for stairclimbing. It means that every time you step up, you are getting a mini resistance workout as you are working against gravity.

This gives you a greater bang for your buck in terms of a workout, compared to running or walking on a flat surface.

Strengthening your muscles has flow-on effects for countless aspects of your physical and mental health. It helps with weight management, helps manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis, and helps with stress, depression and anxiety, among other benefits.

It is proven you will improve your fitness

Many studies have looked at the benefits of stair climbing, which became more popular during COVID-lockdowns when people in apartments were not allowed to leave their building.

A 2019 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, found that even doing stairclimbing in “snacks”, i.e short bursts of just 60 steps, three times a day, can improve fitness.

A study of older adults, published in the Journal of Ageing and Physical Activity in 2021, found stair climbing had a “fairly large, albeit only marginally significant” impact on cognition.

Another 2021 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health focusing on women found “strong statistical evidence of efficacy” in terms of aerobic fitness and weight, along with improvements in body fat ratios. The study also found that stair climbing at home was “at least as effective as” using a stairclimber machine at the gym.

You will feel in control

One thing many of the studies discovered is that stairclimbing works because people believe they can do it. Most able-bodied people know they can walk up and down stairs – they do it every day. This means there are fewer mental barriers to taking it up, unlike the resistance we might feel to taking up a new sport or a more challenging skill.

Plus, you can easily incorporate it into your day, especially if you take the “snack” approach of short sharp stair climbs. Few of us go through a whole day without coming across some stairs. And because it is part of your day, you do not even have to change clothes, although it is highly recommended that you wear flat shoes with good grip.

Ready for more? Try tower running

Tower running is stair climbing, to the max.

It is often done as a race or competition, but you can just compete against yourself in your own time. The idea is super simple: run up and down stairs in tall buildings as fast as possible.

The international races are serious affairs, with even a Tower Running World Cup. These races are short sharp bursts, often over in 10-12 minutes, but they cover immense heights of more than 90 floors, in the world’s tallest skyscrapers including the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building.

If you want to try tower running in your area, you can ty Googling “tower running near me” or “stair climbing near me” to get a list of stairs in your area.

Should You Worry About a Leaky Gut?

’Leaky gut syndrome’ gets blamed for a range of vague, unpleasant symptoms but the jury is still out on what causes it and whether we should be concerned.

Your gut (intestines) is your body’s first line of defence. This long tube through which food and waste pass is lined by rows of cells that prevent unwanted substances from escaping – things like disease-causing bacteria – while allowing smaller particles, such as nutrients, to pass freely into your bloodstream.

What do we mean by ‘leaky gut’?

Sometimes the tight junctions between the cells can become weaker, allowing some nasties to sneak across the intestinal wall, explains gut health dietitian Dr Megan Rossi, founder of the Gut Health clinic and author of Eat More, Live Well. Scientists call this ‘increased intestinal permeability’, or more colloquially, ‘leaky gut’.

‘Leaky gut syndrome’ is a popular diagnosis in the world of alternative therapies, says Rossi, and the theory goes like this: toxins enter the bloodstream through gaps, or junctions, between the cells in your gut wall. This triggers a cascade of inflammation which leads to unpleasant symptoms from digestive issues like bloating and cramps through to eczema, autoimmune disorders, migraines, fatigue and depression.

While some of these conditions are associated with chronic inflammation, the link with leaky gut has not been proven.

Common culprits behind leaky gut are said to include sugar, gluten and lactose (the natural sugar found in milk), says Rossi, and you may be told you can heal your gut by cutting out these foods. Scientific studies do not support these claims.

What we know so far

All of us experience a more permeable gut lining from time to time, caused by alcohol, certain medications, a high fat meal, and even stress. Once the trigger is taken away, the junctions between the cells usually tighten back up, says Rossi. Fortunately, she explains, even if a toxin does make it through your gut wall, your immune system is there waiting to deal with it.

Tamara Duker Freuman is a New York-based dietitian specialising in gut disorders. Writing at, she says researchers who study intestinal permeability have observed it in connection with a small number of conditions, the best-studied of which are the inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s, and coeliac disease. If you have coeliac disease, it is gluten that causes the intestinal permeability, which resolves when you take gluten out of your diet.

How to protect your gut

Duker Freuman warns that the leaky gut diets you will find online may be further damaging your gut, rather than healing it.

Many of these call for the elimination of so-called inflammatory foods, such as grains. But this can result in a lower intake of fibre, she says, which is especially good at nourishing your gut microbiota.

When you deprive your gut bacteria of the fibre they need, they start to eat away at the mucus lining of the gut. This is a problem, says Duker Freuman “because a depleted mucus layer lining the gut makes a person more susceptible to infection by disease-causing bacteria.”

“If you are truly worried about your gut’s leakiness, you may be better off looking to expand the variety of whole, plant-based foods you eat-not culling it.”

If you experience any unexplained symptoms, gut-related or otherwise, do not assume leaky gut is to blame. Start by seeing your doctor, who can refer you to a dietitian or gastroenterologist if needed.

Can You Cure a Hangover?

A thumping headache, raging thirst, nausea, fatigue, irritability and muscle aches. There is little to love about a hangover, and when you are in the middle of one, all you want is a cure, and fast.

Do not be deceived by miracle cures online. The only guaranteed way of avoiding a hangover is not to drink alcohol. But if you would like a few drinks without the hangover the next day, then there are some things you can do before, during and after drinking that will help.

Do not drink on empty stomach. Eat a meal or large snack before drinking, as this will slow the rate at which alcohol enters your bloodstream. One study in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that when compared to men who drank on an empty stomach, those who ate beforehand had a ‘pronounced’ lowering of blood alcohol levels. Eating also increased the speed at which the alcohol was cleared from their bloodstreams.

Stay hydrated. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it makes you need to urinate more. Dehydration is not the only cause of a hangover but it contributes to many of the familiar symptoms – thirst, fatigue, headache and dizziness.

Increasing your water intake while you are drinking alcohol (try alternating between water and alcoholic drinks) will help keep your blood alcohol level from rising too fast and may reduce some of your hangover symptoms.

Make sure you keep up your water intake the following day too, to help counteract dehydration.

Eat a good breakfast. The first thing when you wake you with a hangover, get some food to help you maintain your blood sugar levels.

Low blood sugar does not necessarily cause a hangover, but it can worsen symptoms such as nausea and fatigue.

Eating a healthy breakfast – eggs on wholegrain toast with spinach, for example, or muesli with fresh fruit and yoghurt – can also give you vitamins and minerals that may be depleted after excessive alcohol intake. Studies have found that zinc-rich foods �� such as nuts, seeds, eggs and wholegrains – may help.

Try painkillers. If you need some pain relief, try an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen. It is best to avoid paracetamol. Your liver breaks down both alcohol and paracetamol, and your body is more susceptible to the toxic effects of paracetamol when you drink alcohol.