Sleep and sleep-disordered breathing in commercial long-haul truck drivers

Chest. 1995 May;107(5):1275-82. doi: 10.1378/chest.107.5.1275.


We have performed a study assessing the prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing in a large US trucking company using a validated portable monitor (MESAM-4) and a validated symptom questionnaire. Three hundred eighty-eight drivers with a mean age of 36 years filled out the questionnaire. One hundred fifty-nine drivers with a mean age of 35 years spent the night at the terminal hub where they underwent monitoring for identification of sleep-disordered breathing. The drivers also had blood pressure recorded while awake, seated, and after 15 min of quiet rest. Seventy-eight percent of the drivers had an oxygen desaturation index (ODI) > or = 5 per hour of sleep; 10% had an ODI > or = 30 per hour of sleep. There was a significant difference in the body mass index (BMI) between drivers with ODI < 5 and drivers with ODI > or = 5 (25.7 +/- 6.0 kg/m2 in drivers with ODI < 5 vs 29.0 +/- 6.3 kg/m2 in drivers with ODI > or = 5, p < 0.001). Sixteen percent of all drivers tested were hypertensive. Twelve percent were unaware of their hypertension. Hypertensive drivers were significantly more overweight (p < 0.0001), slept more restlessly (p < 0.04), took more naps (p < 0.03), and woke up more frequently during the night (p < 0.005). About 20% of drivers presented symptoms indicating very regular sleep disturbances. Drivers who had been with the company for more than 1 year were more likely to present daytime fatigue, daytime tiredness, unrestorative sleep, hypertension, and higher BMI. Long-haul truck drivers have very irregular sleep/wake schedules and a high prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing. Chronic sleep/wake disruption and partial, prolonged sleep deprivation may worsen sleep-disordered breathing. This combination of problems may impact significantly on the daytime alertness of truckers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology
  • Oxygen / blood*
  • Prevalence
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / complications
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications
  • Time Factors
  • Transportation*


  • Oxygen