Commercial truck drivers are involved in many accidents each year. Many of these truck drivers suffer with daytime sleepiness. This may be due to the irregular hours they work and the lack of a sufficient amount of quality sleep. Truck drivers are often sleep deprived and typically complain of daytime sleepiness. The lack of sleep is a major cause of truck driver accidents. This is especially true of daytime accidents. Many drivers also suffer with high levels of anxiety.
Many of these truck drivers have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a chronic condition in which a person stops breathing in their sleep. This is a sleep disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or instances of abnormally low breathing during sleep.
Truck drivers who suffer with sleep apnea perform more poorly on the road than those that don’t have sleep apnea. They are known to have significantly more accidents than those without sleep apnea. Also, the number of accidents has been shown to increase based on the severity of the sleep disorder.
It is possible that many truck drivers have sleep apnea but have not yet been diagnosed with it. One symptom of sleep apnea is loud snoring. Another symptom is constantly waking up throughout the night. Sleep apnea can be diagnosed with an overnight sleep test. If you think you may have sleep apnea you should be tested as soon as possible. There are thousands of sleep labs across the country that can conduct a “sleep study” to see if you have sleep apnea. If you get a positive diagnosis of you can begin treatment.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is a common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Although there are three types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form. This is a condition in which the throat muscles relax caused by the airways becoming narrowed or block. This causes oxygen levels to be lowered due to the obstruction.
Many truck drivers don’t like using the CPAP machine. It does take time to adjust to using a CPAP machine. However, it can allow you to get quality sleep. Some drivers may have trouble trying to adjust the mask. However, each driver can work with their health professional to get a mask which provides a more comfortable fit. This would vastly improve the quality of their life.
Truck driving is a stressful and dangerous profession which is why truck driver safety is so important. Several hundred drivers die in highway traffic accidents each year. It is important for drivers to be alert as opposed to being sleepy while driving. Treating sleep apnea can enable drivers to be alert and able to operate their trucks safely on the highways.