As we go through modern life, we trust a lot of people to transport us and our belongings safely. Cab drivers, airline pilots and bus drivers need to be awake and alert or disasters both small and large can happen. The National Sleep Foundation recently looked into how tired these transportation professionals are on a regular basis, and the results were somewhat alarming.
About one-fourth of train operators (26%) and pilots (23%) admit that sleepiness has affected their job performance at least once a week, compared to about one in six non-transportation workers (17%).
Perhaps more disturbingly, a significant number say that sleepiness has caused safety problems on the job. One in five pilots (20%) admit that they have made a serious error and one in six train operators (18%) and truck drivers (14%) say that they have had a “near miss” due to sleepiness.
Finally, one of the more striking stats — almost two-thirds of train operators (57%) and one-half of pilots (50%) say they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep on work nights, compared to 44% of truck drivers and 42% of non-transportation workers.
Whether you are a transportation worker or not, the best advice to be well rested is to pick a bedtime that’s about eight hours from your wake-up time, and stick to that schedule every day — even on weekends. Bedtime routines, as well as avoiding electronic devices and caffeine before bedtime are also important.