Wake up! Feeling a little sleepy before hopping behind the wheel can be just as dangerous as driving while drunk. Research shows that hitting the road after going more than 20 hours without sleep is like driving with a blood alcohol level of .08%! And the NHTSA reports that more than 72,000 accidents were caused by fatigued drivers in just one year, causing 41,000 injuries and 800 fatalities. Driving drowsy is no joke, so do yourself a favor and grab some sunflower seeds before your next road trip. Here’s how these little sun-loving snacks can keep you awake and alert as you’re hitting the highway.
LONGER LASTING ENERGY
Research published in this 2014 Chicago Tribune article, showed that sunflower seeds were superior to energy drinks in providing the body with sustained, usable energy due to the high Vitamin B content in seeds, which the body uses for cellular energy and metabolism. In fact, the energy drinks caused a rebound effect, with increased drowsiness after a time.
KEEP THE MIND MOVING
Not only do sunflower seeds contain energy boosting vitamins and minerals, the sheer act of eating them can keep the mind engaged and alert. Popping a few seeds in the mouth and cracking them can take work and a certain level of concentration, which can help keep drowsiness at bay. According to Ralph Downey III, PhD, director of Loma Linda University Sleep Disorders Center in California, “When our muscles are moving our bodies tend to be more alert,” which is the function at play while eating seeds.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you are needing to get creative to keep your eyelids open while you drive, you should probably get off the road and head for bed. But sunflower seeds can work to keep the mind alert and active while you’re driving, so grab a bag of South 40’s easy to crack, slightly salted seeds to help you stay awake for safety’s sake!