Sleep: A user’s guide

| September 24, 2013

sleep on wheel ODSleep is absolutely essential for every human being. Despite scientists still not figuring out the process entirely, we know a lot about this daily activity. It is a process so common it consumes nearly one-third of our lives. This translates to an estimated 26 years spent in slumber if we assume the average American lifespan of 78. That’s a lot of shut-eye. 

According to Dr. Anuj Goyal of Sleep Diagnostics of Dayton/Sleep Specialists, there is no magic number for the right amount of sleep. “This will vary among individuals and age groups,” Goyal says. “Healthy adults need seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Some individuals need to sleep 8-10 hours per night based on their genetics. Oversleeping has been linked to a host of medical problems including diabetes, heart disease, and an increased risk for death.”

On the other side of the coin, not enough sleep is also detrimental to your health. 

“Sleep deprivation studies have shown a lack of sleep to be fatal in rats,” Goyal says. “Lack of sleep can kill you. If someone is completely deprived of sleep, they can die within 2 weeks. For practical purposes, long-term sleep deprivation can result in weight gain, accelerated aging and depression, and it can compromise your immune system making you susceptible to various illnesses.”

The most cited record for sleepless hours was held by 17-year-old Randy Gardner of the U.S., who stayed awake for an astonishing 264 hours back in 1964. Gardner was monitored by physicians as part of a sleep-deprivation study. There have been many who have sustained longer periods of wakefulness, but Gardner’s case was closely controlled, and is the most scientifically sound to date. It’s impossible to tell if someone is really awake without intense medical supervision. People can take cat naps with their eyes open without even being aware of it. After just four days without sleep, Randy began hallucinating, believing that he was the collegiate football player Paul Lowe, winning the Rose Bowl.

As Goyal noted, sleep patterns vary from person to person. There is no “blanket statement” that can be made about how much each person needs to be healthy and productive. There are two main types of sleep, rapid eye movement (REM) and its opposite. In healthy adults, sleep begins with non-REM sleep and alternates with REM sleep throughout the night in a cyclical fashion. This sleep pattern can be affected by many factors including age, the amount of recent sleep, the time of day or night, or behaviors prior to sleep such as exercise, stress, temperature and light, as well as chemicals (alcohol, nicotine, caffeine) and medications. Sleep patterns are ingrained, but can be altered based on sleep schedules, daytime napping, or any of the factors mentioned above.

The FMCSA has directly referenced sleep patterns (Circadian rhythm) in its defense of the new hours of service rules in court. While these patterns do exist and are very important to daily function, it is impossible to impose these findings on a large group of people due to the extreme variation in personal patterns. Based on the science of sleep, there is no way to say “everyone” performs better when they sleep (or rest) during a 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. period of time.

While it remains true that a large number of people rest better during hours of darkness, it also remains a fact that a large number don’t. No all-inclusive rule will assure better cognition and safety from the masses.

 

Related: 
**Sleep apnea bill advances as FMCSA says it will use rulemaking, not guidance
**
Some jurisdictions ‘do not compute’ new restart limitations
**
Haints, spooks and flat-out weirdness
**
Rocky restart for hours rules

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  • EF McHenry

    So we need to sleep! FINE!! It’s not sleep apnea that’s causing a lack of restorative rest. It’t the dispatch scheduling that seeks to maximize productivity!! And I’m really sorry but the ELOG/EOBR isn’t helping!!
    How about this:
    I come off my 10hrs off @ 0730 and need to pickup @ 0800 in the town I shutdown in the same location I’m to load. Disp says don’t start you log on the EOBR, stay off duty. It’s 1200(noon) now & I’m loaded! Do a 30min pretrip&load call & roll out @ 1230! Load is 475miles out and it takes all 11hrs due to traffic etc and 30min DOT break. It’s a live unload as soon as I get there with another 3hrs to unload!! Disp say go off-duty or sleeper berth upon arrival @ the rcvr! It’s not midnight and I’m up dealing with lumpers the keys are hanging in the rcvr’s cubical and I’ve been up already 16 1/2hrs. I’m finally empty, turned back their safety vest, rcvd my paperwork & keys and have at least 30minutes more of trip envelope paperwork to fill out and scan in-cab! It’s now almost 4am and I’ve been up over 20hrs but my Elog shows a little more thsn 10hrs drive time and less than 1hr on-duty time! And dispatch has me all lined up for another load to pickup @ 10am. Now I’m asking somebody anybody at the FMCSA
    WHEN DO I REALLY GET TO SLEEP 10HRS???? WHEN WILL I GET TO EXERCISE, EAT, RIGHT OR JUST RELAX?????
    BEFORE YOU KEEP WRITING RULES THAT CATER TO BIG TRUCKING WITH CSA TRANSFERS OF EQUIPMENT RESPONSIBILITY, ELOGS THAT GIVE MORE CONTROL OVER MY WORK DAY TO DISP AND NOW SLEEP REGULATIONS TO EITHER CYCLE ME OUT OF THE INDUSTRY OR MAKE IT SO UNDESIRABLE THAT I JUST QUIT, WILL YOU PLEASE GET OUT OF THAT OFFICE AND DRIVE MY MILE FOR AWHILE AND THEN COME TALK TO ME ABOUT IT?????
    I’m just saying.

  • guest

    Yep thats the REAL world. This is why we have PAPER logs….more “adjustable” than the Elogs
    and satelite Monitoring GPS.

  • driveandcycle

    keep notes – hire a lawyer – sue for harassment – retire on easy street

  • EF McHenry

    Yes that’s is true. Thx for the support

  • EF McHenry

    It might just come down to that.
    Floyd

  • Rey Moreno

    When is it gonna stop! Regulation after Regulation. Washington just know exactly how we should live our lives. Yet, They cant agree on anything themselves.

    Congress gets to shut down America! NOW ITS OUR TURN TO SHUT DOWN AMERICA!!!!!!!

    I was on the fence about shutting down, BUT now the the river card is down and its time to show our cards. Come on truckers of America. Congress has led the way, showing the world how to do it. NOW ITS OUR TURN! We All have to sacrifice a little and we’ll all get more back in the end!!!!!!#!####

  • lastgoodusername

    no wonder i”m tired, I’ve been sleeping wrong