Many Truck Drivers Struggle with untreated sleep apnea. Commercial Drivers and Transportation Risk Managers face a large problem with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This is more evident, as they try to find ways to improve safety on the road. Sleep apnea is known to contribute to daytime drowsiness because the untreated disorder severely disrupts a victim’s sleep cycle.
A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration study showed that out of 3.4 million professional commercial drivers, about 26% are suffering from some form of sleep apnea. According to research, the condition can impact driving performance greatly by increasing fatigue, and in turn, boosting the risk for crashes.
What do experts say about truck drivers that struggle with sleep Apnea?
“I promise you there are thousands of Commercial Drivers out there that have some form of sleep apnea. Many drivers don’t want to talk about it, or are in denial that they have a medical condition. Some don’t even know they have it. Many might think that daytime sleepiness is normal to them and they don’t realize it is abnormal,” said Don Osterberg. Don Osterberg is Vice President of Safety and Driver Training for Green Bay, Wisconsin-based Schneider National Inc.
Another expert said, “Commercial truck drivers are vital to our company and our global economy. Their highway miles can be dangerous without proper safety implementation.” Dan is CEO of CaseStack, a third-party logistics firm based in Fayetteville. Truckers are often on the road for long periods of time. Additionally, it can be difficult for truckers to maintain a healthy lifestyle while out on the road. Lack of healthier food or spaces to properly exercise can create a decline in health. These reasons, plus others, might contribute to why truck drivers struggle with untreated sleep apnea.
Since 2013, each state has its own set of guidelines to screen and test drivers suspected of having sleep apnea. The law ensures testing, screening or treatment for company drivers.
Furthermore, treatment solutions for OSA range from a CPAP to convenient, comfortable and effective oral appliances. If left untreated, it prevents you from taking in the right amount of oxygen while sleeping. This makes the whole bodywork harder. The decreased flow of oxygen to the brain and other parts can lead to many serious health conditions.
To learn more about the treatments for snoring and sleep apnea and why oral appliance therapy is a great alternative for those who cannot tolerate the CPAP machine click here.