Work and rest sleep schedules of 227 European truck drivers

Sleep Med. 2002 Nov;3(6):507-11. doi: 10.1016/s1389-9457(02)00138-7.


Objective: To investigate the sleep-wake behavior and performance of a random sample of European truck drivers.

Methods: The drivers completed a questionnaire concerning sleep-wake habits and disorders experienced during the previous 3 months. In addition, they were asked to complete a sleep and travel log that included their usual work and rest periods during the previous two days. They answered questions concerning working conditions and reported their caffeine and nicotine intake during their trips.

Results: A total of 227 drivers, mean age 37.7+/- 8.4 years (96.2% acceptance rate), participated in the study. The drivers were found to have a fairly consistent total nocturnal sleep time during their work week, but on the last night at home prior to the new work week there was an abrupt earlier wake-up time associated with a decrease in nocturnal sleep time. Of the drivers, 12.3% had slept less than 6 h in the 24 h previous to the interview and 17.1% had been awake more than 16 h.

Conclusions: Shifting sleep schedules between work and rest periods can generate long episodes of wakefulness. This type of sleep deprivation is rarely investigated. Its is usually not taken into consideration when creating work schedules, but affects the performance of drivers. Unsuspected shifts occur at the onset of a new workweek. Sleep hygiene education for professional drivers is still far from perfect.