Split sleep schedule proves beneficial for truckers

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While a solid eight or more hours of sleep continues to be the optimal choice for all, a recent study shows a split schedule of sleep is more beneficial than a solid stretch of sleep during the daytime hours.

This study may specifically interest those in the truck driving industry, or those who drive tractor-trailers in Tennessee as well as other states, because they are under strict regulations regarding sleep hours. While these regulations are intended to increase safety for everyone on the roadways and reduce the number of truck accidents, the study’s results may show that changes should be made.

Prepared by a researcher at a U.S. university, the study was conducted for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and is the third such study conducted in the past five years showing the same results. A comparison was made of two five-hour sleep periods, from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., to consolidated sleep periods at night and during the day. While it was determined that a 10-hour nighttime sleep schedule is best, a split sleep schedule of two five-hour periods is more beneficial than a schedule of 10 consecutive daytime hours.

This information is particularly useful to those in the trucking industry who claim the current regulations for tractor trailer drivers is too limiting. Those regulations allow a split schedule but require one period of at least eight hours in the sleep berth as well as an additional two hours. Evidence from the study conducted seems to support the trucking industry’s stance and position that drivers should have more flexibility in how they rest in their sleep berth.

While the results of this study are interesting, it is still important to remember that truck drivers and trucking companies must stay in compliance with current state and federal trucking regulations. If they do not, they run the risk of being held financially and criminally responsible for any damage that is done in a resulting truck accident.

Source: Expediters Online, “Split Sleep Schedule Found Better than Daytime Sleep,” Oliver B. Patton, Jan. 22, 2013