Sleep and mental health in truck drivers: Descriptive review of the current evidence and proposal of strategies for primary prevention

Sergio Garbarino, Ottavia Guglielmi, Walter G. Sannita, Nicola Magnavita, Paola Lanteri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Professional truck drivers (TDs) are exposed to stressful working (and living) conditions and are vulnerable. They report physical and mental health problems and psychological distress more frequently than the general population and their problems can affect safety on the roads. Actions to improve TDs’ health and reduce the risks of (co-)morbidity or unsafe driving are imperative. Methods: The published studies dealing with the TDs’ sleep habits and mental health were reviewed to define the scenario and organize the preventive strategies proposed thus far. Results: Awareness among TDs of the high risk for health and safety due to (often co-existing) untreated sleep and mental health problems is critical. Alcohol and prescribed or illicit drugs are often misused to compensate for depression, anxiety, job strain, fatigue, and social isolation. Polypharmacy and dependence increase the chance of unsafe behaviors on the road. The TDs’ access to healthcare services is scant, and participation in industry-sponsored wellness programs is limited. Conclusions: Primary prevention is a first unavoidable step to deal with sleep and mental health problems. Educational programs, online support and tele-health assessment/monitoring would help improve the well-being, safety and health of professional TDs and increase safety on the road.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1852
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume15
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2018

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mental health
  • Prevention
  • Road safety
  • Sleep
  • Sleep disorder
  • Truck driver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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