April 29, 2019

Programme to Help Drivers Improve Sleep

Eat, drive, sleep, repeat. Eat, drive, sleep, repeat. Sound familiar? Well if you’re one of the UK’s hard working haulage drivers out there on the road plying your trade every day, that’s literally the story of your life. The problem is, it’s all too easy to get into the habit of missing one of those steps and the consequences can be serious.

The Serious Business of Losing Snooze

Here are some disturbing facts that are enough to keep you up at night even before you factor in insomnia:

  • Adults need about 7-8 hours of sleep to maintain cognitive brain function
  • If you have less than 5 hours it has the same effect on your brain as being drunk
  • More than 30% of the UK population get only 5-6 hours a night
  • Only a third of people in the workforce are getting sufficient sleep on a regular basis
  • Tiredness costs the UK economy around £30 billion annually (that’s 200,000 work days)

Add to this the fact that many people don’t even realise they’re suffering from the effects of tiredness and it’s not hard to see why it’s the cause of so many road accidents.

Risky Business

Haulage drivers, by the very nature of the work, often have to drive for extended periods, and even with mandatory rest breaks it’s all too easy to become impaired. Because of the sedentary nature of sitting in the cab of a lorry for hours on end, they’re also more likely to stack on the weight – which contributes to difficulties breathing and becomes part of the vicious cycle.

Sleephub Offers Solutions for Fleet Safety

Fleet managers have a legal and moral obligation to ensure their haulage workers are safe on the road – this includes identifying potential health problems and implementing solutions.

A company called Sleephub has developed the TweakSleep Challenge, in which participants take part in a 24-day programme to help them learn to sleep better.

It might sound a little strange but it’s far from quackery, with the participants filling out an initial questionnaire (to identify specific problems like apnoea and restless leg syndrome), and then a daily diary, which is sent in for assessment by the experts. In the next stage they work with a coach to talk about ways in which they can create better habits and routines, which are then implemented and monitored.

The results of the programme appear pretty positive, with one company whose employees took part reporting that, over two weeks, all of them gained an extra half an hour sleep a night, with an average of 10% better quality. For some, the improvements were even better.

Don’t Snooze and Lose

Whether or not you have access to this kind of programme or not, simply being aware that the issue is so prevalent and potentially dangerous can be helpful. Spread the word about the perils of tiredness and don’t forget to check in with your fellow haulage workers if you can see a problem.

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