Prevalence and correlates of poor sleep quality and daytime sleepiness in Belgian truck drivers

Lutgart Braeckman, Rini Verpraet, Marleen Van Risseghem, Dirk Pevernagie, Dirk De Bacquer
Chronobiology International 2011, 28 (2): 126-34
Sleepiness and sleep complaints are common among professional drivers. Sleepiness is a considerable problem not only because it affects the drivers' well-being, but also because of the consequences for performance and safety. Assessment of the (self-reported) prevalence and research into the risk factors are thus an important health issue and are also indispensable to prevent productivity loss and work-related accidents and injuries. Therefore, the aim of this study was to describe sleeping, driving, and health characteristics of Belgian truck drivers and to determine occupational and individual factors associated with poor sleep quality and daytime sleepiness. Cross-sectional data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire that included the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), and Berlin Questionnaire (BQ). The mean (SD) age of the 476 studied truck drivers was 42.7 (10.2) yrs and the mean (SD) body mass index was 27.3 (5.1) kg/m(2). Approximately 47% declared that they drove >50 h/wk and found their work schedule unrealistic. The mean (SD) PSQI score was 4.45 (2.7); poor quality of sleep (PSQI >5) was found in 27.2%. The mean (SD) ESS score was 6.79 (4.17); 18% had a score >10. The BQ indicated that 21.5% had a higher risk on obstructive sleep apnea. In multiple logistic regression analysis, low educational level (odds ratio [OR] 1.86), current smoking (OR 1.75), unrealistic work schedule (OR 1.75), and risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OR 2.97) were found to be independent correlates of daytime sleepiness. Poor sleep quality was significantly associated with poor self-perceived health (OR 1.95), unrealistic work schedule (OR 2.85), low job satisfaction (OR 1.91), and less driving experience (OR 1.73). These results show that poor sleep quality and daytime sleepiness were prevalent in Belgian truck drivers. Taking into account that several significant correlates with respect to these sleep problems were identified both at the individual and the occupational level, comprehensive countermeasures to improve working conditions and organization are needed, as well as health promotion interventions, to ensure the safety and well-being of truck drivers.

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