Truck drivers often do their work for long hours during the day and at night. In most cases, they lack proper rest and sleep. They drive trucks for long distance. They work against the scheduled time to deliver goods to destination places. Truck drivers travel from one country to the other. The excessive work they do for longer hours contribute to their deprivation of sleep.
This paper explores sleep deprivation as a problem that track drivers encounter in the course of their work. The paper will utilize the theory of planned behaviour, trans-theoretical model and health belief model to explain this problem. The paper will also bring out intervention measures and strategies to be used to address the problem.
The theory of planned behaviour came into existence in 1980 formulated by Ajzen and Fishbein. The theory explains why people engage in certain behaviours. The theory states that people engage in certain behaviours because they form an intention to engage in that behaviour. According to the theory, intentions to engage in certain behaviours get influence form the beliefs that a person has the social pressure to conform to the wishes of other people in the society and the ability to perform that behaviour (Huston, 2004).
The intention of a person to engage in certain behaviour acts as a function of his or her attitude towards the behaviour and the subjective norm. Intention acts as the readiness of a person to perform a given behaviour. It acts as the immediate antecedent of the behaviour.
Therefore, truck drivers adjust their working time according to the intentions they have. Most truck drivers drive trucks for the whole day and some part of the night. They usually wake up incredibly early in the morning to start their work. They also extend their working hours to exceedingly late at night. Therefore, they do not get enough time to sleep and rest. This leads to sleep deprivation, which becomes dangerous. The behaviour of truck drivers is guided by the intentions in their minds. In most cases, they want to reach certain destinations before they end the day. This makes hem start they journey quite early and end it deep into the night. Therefore, sleep deprivation becomes a result of their intentions to reach certain destinations before the day ends.
According to the theory, people engage in certain behaviours because of their outcomes especially when desirable. In this manner, truck drivers drive for long hours because they believe that when they make it to certain destinations earlier than the expected time; they may be able to perform activities of their own outside duty.
Salient references act as another factor that the theory suggests that influence the behaviours of people. The salient references influence the decisions people make as to whether or not to perform certain activities. Salient references include parents, fiends, siblings, spouses and employers.
In this case, truck drivers may have pressure directed at them by their employers, their children, parents, friends or souses. Their employers might pressure them to ensure they deliver goods to certain destinations at specified hours. This might make the truck drivers drive for long hours to beat the time set. This might make them not to have enough sleep. This may also be a pressure from family members. The truck drivers may want to reach certain places early so that they can meet their family members. According to the theory of planned behaviour, all these factors contribute to sleep deprivation on the part of truck drivers. Sleep derivation comes because of their intention to avoid sleep. This could be detrimental to the truck drivers. Sleep has its own returns. People should set aside appropriate time to sleep (Contento, 2010).
Sleep deprivation has become exceedingly common in the modern world. Everyday seems to carry twice as much work that people should accomplish. This results to decreased sleep over a period because of extended wakefulness. People think that they can condition their bodies to not to require much sleep. This thought seems to be wrong. Lack of enough sleep is dangerous and poses health risks to people. The body needs sleep to regenerate certain parts, more specifically the brain so that it can function normally.
When wakefulness periods extend, sleep neurons in the body become start to malfunction and affects the behaviour of a person. Sleep deprivation causes anxiety and stress. Sleep deprivation causes road accidents because of extreme tiredness.
Lack of enough sleep causes decreased performance and alertness. Sleep deprivation causes a significant reduction in the alertness and performance of individuals. Reduction in performance and alertness may account for the road accidents caused by truck drivers. Instead of thumbing active and alert when they drive, their minds tend to sleep affecting their driving performance.
Sleep deprivation results to cognitive and memory impairment. Lack of enough sleep causes people to experience a reduction in their ability to think and process information in mind. This causes poor quality of life. Sleep deprivation for longer periods makes people unable to perform activities that require maximum attention. This may be detrimental especially to truck drivers because they need to be attentive when driving in order to avoid accidents. Lack of sleep could cause accidents because drivers may drive sleeping (Stickgold & Walker, 2009).
Trans-theoretical model of behaviour change assesses the readiness of an individual to engage in healthy behaviour. It outlines strategies and processes that guides individuals in the stages of change to action and maintenance of a certain behaviour. Trans-theoretical model to the change in behaviour involves certain stages that follow each other systematically. These stages become essential when people need to change their behaviour (Contento, 2010).
The first stage in trans-theoretical model involves precontemplation. This stage involves the stage where individuals do not know the problem, and they do not think of changing any behaviour. This stage involves the situation where most drivers are in when they induce sleep deprivation on themselves. They do not see any problem with working through late hours of the night. They see sleep deprivation as an advantage because they can do their own activities.
The second stage involves contemplation. Individuals in this stage recognise a problem in their behaviour and undertake actions to change this behaviour. This forms the stage where truck drivers realize that sleep deprivation is harmful to their health and safety. Because of this, they think of changing their behaviour of staying awake for long periods.
The next stage involves preparation. This stage involves the time that people get emotionally and mentally ready to change their behaviour. In the case of truck drivers, this involves the stage where they have realized the problem of sleep deprivation, thought about the consequences that come with the behaviour and have decided to change. The drivers intend to act in changing their deprivation of sleep (McDaniel, 2004).
The next stage becomes taking action. Taking the necessary action involves the actual changing of the undesirable behaviour. In the case of truck drivers, this forms the stage where they solve the problem of sleep deprivation. Here, the drivers can decide to negotiate with their employers so that employers can allow them to get ample time to sleep so that they can function normally and avoid accidents and health risks that result from sleep deprivation. The drivers can also decide to limit their driving time schedule. They may decide to sleep where night-time finds them.
After taking the action, the drivers maintain the behaviour that they have changed. For the drivers, the action that they took involved increasing their sleep time. Therefore, maintenance for them means that they maintain the hours that they have set for sleeping every day. They have to practise the change in behaviour that they engaged in, consistently. They have to try as much as possible to ensure that they get enough sleep.
The last stage in the trans-theoretical model involves termination. Termination accounts for the stage where people out an end to the whole process of the change in behaviour. The termination takes place after the behaviour has changed and individuals have mastered it well. In this case, truck drivers should terminate the process of changing their behaviour so that they get enough sleep. They will do this after they have achieved consistency so that the behaviour becomes automatic. The truck drivers must ensure that they get enough sleep time consistently before terminating the behaviour change process.
The health belief model came in to the existence in the 1950s. A group of public health service social psychologists developed the model wanting to explain why many people did not take part in programs to prevent and detect diseases. Health belief model acts as the best model for solving the problem behaviours that evoke health risk issues. When truck drivers engage in sleep deprivation, they create health risks on themselves. Sleep deprivation causes anxiety, depression, anger, malfunctioning of the brain, memory lapse and lack of attention and alertness among other health risks. Therefore, health belief model acts as the best model, which will help them solve the sleep deprivation problem (Timmreck, 2002).
This model suggests that the health-related behaviour depends on the perception that people hold about four critical concerns. The first one involves the seriousness of the illness potentiality. When a person believes that his health is at risk because of the behaviour he engages in, he seeks a screening test. In this case, the truck drivers must know the health risk that sleep deprivation presents to them (Ader, 2007).
The second concern involves the potential seriousness in terms of the pain and discomfort and the susceptibility chances. The truck drivers must know the exact seriousness of the health risk that sleep deprivation causes.
The third becomes the benefits. The benefits that the truck drivers can get out from this model involves their ability to stay attentive, perform better, and void anxiety and lack of concentration which ma led to accidents.
The forth concern involves the barriers that may prevent them from taking action. The barriers that may prevent truck drivers from taking action may be directives issued by their employers. If they do not follow the directive, they might lose their jobs.
Another aspect that encourages people to change behaviour in the health belief model involves the motivation they have for the change in behaviour. For example, truck drivers may get motivation from the desire to ensure that they stay healthy even when doing their work.
Sleep deprivation tends to be extremely dangerous to the health of people especially truck drivers. This is because; road usage requires a lot of attention and alertness so as not to cause accidents. The panned behaviour theory explains how and why people engage in certain behaviour such as sleep deprivation by truck drivers. Trans-theoretical model and health belief model explain how people can avoid engaging in certain behaviours and the advantages they get from such changes. Therefore, truck drivers must change sleep deprivation for their own health and for the safety of other and themselves.