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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 79  |  Page : 387--393

Impact of overnight traffic noise on sleep quality, sleepiness, and vigilant attention in long-haul truck drivers: Results of a pilot study


1 Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Centre of Sleep Medicine, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany
2 Daimler AG, Group Research and Sustainability, Stuttgart, Germany
3 Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Centre of Sleep Medicine, University of Regensburg, Regensburg; Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Social Foundation Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany

Correspondence Address:
Roland FJ Popp
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Centre of Sleep Medicine, University of Regensburg, Universitaetsstrasse 84, D-93053 Regensburg
Germany
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.169698

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This study aimed to evaluate the impact of traffic noise along the motorway on sleep quality, sleepiness, and vigilant attention in long-haul truck drivers. This was a randomized, crossover, within-subject controlled study. Healthy long-haul truck drivers spent 6 consecutive nights in a real truck berth with full sleep laboratory equipment. During 3 nights, subjects were exposed to replayed traffic noise alongside motorways, whereas the other 3 nights were without traffic noise. Polysomnography was recorded during the nights and numerous sleepiness tests and vigilance examinations were performed during the following standardized working day. Outcome measures were compared between noisy and silent nights using the paired Wilcoxon test. Ten healthy long-haul truck drivers with a mean age of 36.3 ± 7.3 years completed the study as planned. On noisy nights, subjects had greater latencies to the rapid eye movement (REM) phase (90 ± 32 min vs 69 ± 16 min, P = 0.074) and higher percentages of sleep stage 1 (13.7 ± 5.5% vs 11.2 ± 4.4%; P = 0.059). Subjects also rated their sleep quality as having been better during nights without noise (28.1 ± 3.7 vs 30.3 ± 6.2, P = 0.092). The impact of these differences on daytime sleepiness and vigilance was rather low; however, mean Karolinska Sleepiness Scale (KSS) scores measured during the course of the following day were higher on six out of eight occasions after noisy nights. The effects of overnight traffic noise on sleep quality are detectable but unlikely to have any major impact on the vigilant attention and driving performance of long haul-truck drivers with low nocturnal noise sensitivity. This might not be true for subgroups prone to sleeping disorders.






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