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Driver tests show split-sleep benefits

Margaret Jack  By Margaret Jack   |   Posted in Sleep Research   |   Last updated: Wednesday 23rd January 2013

A recent sleep study carried out by sleep scientist Gregory Belenky (of Washington State University) suggests that a split sleep schedule throughout the day can be more beneficial than consolidated sleep for drivers. This study was conducted for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to gauge whether consolidated or split sleeping schedules through the day were more beneficial towards a drivers health, safety and road performance.

This sleep experiment was conducted upon 53 volunteers who were put on simulators in a laboratory to experience the effects different sleeping had on driving for 5-day working week. In this study consolidated sleeping at night and day for 10 hours were compared to split sleeping schedules which were prompted at 3am to 8am and 3pm to 8pm. From these sleep schedule tests it was found that for night time sleeping the 10 hour sleep schedule was more effective and for day time sleeping a split sleep schedule proved to be more beneficiary for drivers wanting to catch up on some rejuvenating shut-eye.

Results from this study and many similar studies may encourage the FDMCA to lift current berth sleep rules; sleeping for a consolidated period of 8 hours and at another allotment of least another 2 hours. Evidence from this study can suggest that drivers can remain more focussed when back on the road if they are able to have more flexibility with their berth sleeping schedule by splitting this into shorter resting periods.

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