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sleep deprivation and truck driving

My son has for approximately 9 months has been driving trucks or car carriers in Australia. He works either 5 or six days per weeks and shifts of up to 12 hours.  For the last 6 weeks he has been off work following an accident which in my view was a direct result of sleep deprivation. His employer (a large well known logistics firm) schedule drivers' shifts on a weekly basis bearing no similarity to the previous week, Shifts are quite different from one week to the next. Drivers may start at 3 am one week or even 1 pm the next and consequently they are required to adjust their sleeping patterns accordingly. Some days my son was gong off to work after less than 2 hours sleep.

It was not unexpected an accident at work occurred following feelings of disorientation, dizziness, head spins, and head aches. Since that time he has shown signs of vagueness, indecision and now depression. He has had an MRI scan, CT scan blood tests all of which are clear. The biggest hurdle is geting doctors to understand the accident was brought about by sleep loss. He currently is receiving no pay.  

Can sleep deprivation cause these symptoms. I question the mentality of the trucking company in expecting drivers to alter shifts as described above with no consideration for the safety and welfare of their employees.
2 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi super100, Sorry to hear about your son been met with accident. How is he doing now? Are you there to take care of him? I do agree with your views of sleep deprivation and its adverse effects. He might be in severe stress due to sleep deprivation caused a result of irregular sleeping cycle because of job needs working in frequent shifts. You may seek the help of attorney for his loss of pay. He requires rest for sometime. He can get evaluated by a neurologist and get counseled by a sleep specialist. Take care and update on his progress.
Avatar universal
One possibility for a son with a job that has crazy hours like that is polyphasic sleep. It is the practice of maximizing awake time and reducing the need to sleep by isolating the rejuvenating REM part of sleep from the unnecessary other pieces. During a normal night of 8 hours of sleep, there are only about 2-3 hours of REM sleep. However, after an adaptation period of about a week, all the sleep that is needed is 6 20 minute naps equally spaced throughout the day. Check out www.stevepavlina.com for the blog of someone who practiced it for about 8 months. After the first week those 6 naps (totaling 2 hours) can make a person feel just as refreshed as a normal night of sleep.
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