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Study: truckers among the most sleep-deprived workers

Ball State University released a study involving more than 150,000 working adults that traced the rise of sleep deprivation in several industries. West Virginia residents should know that lack of sleep mostly plagues industries where 24-hour shift work is common. It is no surprise that commercial truckers have been frequently affected.

Sleep deprivation was most prevalent among the police and military members at 50% followed by healthcare workers at 45%, those in the transport and material moving industry at 41% and those in production at 41%. Overall, there was an increase from 30.9% of respondents reporting lack of sleep in 2010 to 35.6% of respondents reporting it in 2018.

In the study, sleep deprivation meant less than seven hours of sleep a day. The effects of inadequate sleep are numerous: mental health issues, chronic physical conditions, reduced mortality, an increased risk for injuries and loss of productivity. Researchers could not identify one dominant cause for the rise in sleep deprivation, but several factors can be gleaned, such as longer work hours and easier access to electronic devices that keep users up late into the night.

Millions of Americans use over-the-counter sleep aids, and these may be contributing to the trend as well. As a side effect, these drugs, if improperly administered, can worsen one's insomnia.

Long hours and, in some cases, sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea can make many commercial truckers drowsy behind the wheel. Log book violations are one way to show, if only indirectly, that a trucker was drowsy at the time of an accident. Victims who intend to file a claim against the trucker's employer may want a lawyer to help them gather the needed proof. A lawyer may do much more, though, including handling negotiations. If successful, victims might be reimbursed for medical bills, lost wages and more.

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