One of the central points in the ongoing battle over hours of service (HOS) reform in the trucking industry is the issue of providing enough “off-duty” time so truck drivers can get sufficient restorative sleep.
But what happens if you CAN’T get that restorative sleep? What if, with 10 or even 12 hours off per day, a driver finds himself (or herself) tossing and turning for hours, ending up fatigued and groggy at the start of their next shift?
Such “sleep problems” are actually fairly widespread in the U.S., if a new study is to be believed, and certainly not just limited to big rig operators.
In a survey of 1,001 adults aged 18 and older sponsored by sleep-aid maker MidNite, some 52% of respondents reported they suffered from a lack of sleep.
[Here’s some sleep advice from HealthNation.]
Of those dealing with sleep issues, the survey found that problems falling asleep and staying asleep occur about equally; 70% and 67% respectively. However, waking in the night is the most common sleep problem for women 35 and over, while for men 35 and over the most common issue is falling asleep, according to MidNite’s poll.
Here are some other interesting factoids dug up by this poll:
Dr. Lisa Shives, M.D., founder of the Chicago-based Linden Center for Sleep and Weight Management, noted in the study that she finds people can be hesitant to confront their sleep problems and seek medical help, which may be one reason only 49% of those with sleep issues consider it to be a “problem.”
Just goes to show that while you can legislate “off-duty” time for rests and sleep, the human body may not cooperate with such rules. It’s just part on the ongoing struggle against fatigue for the motoring public as a whole, not just truckers.