The sleep cycle is very important for people, as they need to sleep at certain times and for certain lengths of time to really feel rested. It’s not just about getting eight hours a day, but about sleeping long enough to get into REM sleep. When this sleep cycle is interrupted, people can still feel very tired, even if they technically got enough sleep in 24 hours.
This is a huge problem for truckers, who often don’t get a stable sleeping pattern. They often look at sleep as something they’ll get whenever they have the opportunity, but they really have to drive at certain times, and that dictates their schedules more than sleep.
For instance, a trucker may have a shipment that has to be delivered at a certain time, meaning he or she only has a few hours to sleep before heading out. The trucker will take it, but he or she can’t put off driving to sleep for that full eight hours.
Part of the problem is that truckers have to make sure they are able to get more work. For example, if a trucker drops off a load at 6 a.m., but then he or she has no legal driving hours left for the following 10 hours—due to the regulations that are in place to make sure truckers take time off—then the trucker won’t get a load at all. Jobs usually start in the morning, so the trucker could lose a whole day if he or she can’t start until two in the afternoon.
Because of this, truckers keep odd hours and never fall into a solid sleep cycle, which can make them very tired behind the wheel.
If you’ve been in an accident that was caused by a tired driver, you should know your options in Virginia to seek compensation.
Source: Trucking Truth, “The Sleep Cycle of a Truck Driver – It Doesn’t Exist,” accessed July 17, 2015