Being on the road can be tiring, especially so if a truck driver is also suffering from sleep apnea. When obstructive sleep apnea goes untreated, the individual is often left feeling extraordinarily fatigued and unrested throughout the day, which can significantly increase their risk of a collision or accident.
Because truck drivers are at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea, it’s crucial to understand how this sleep disorder impacts them and what treatment methods are best for truckers on the road. Follow along as ApneaMed walks you through obstructive sleep apnea, how it affects truckers, and how truck drivers can effectively treat their sleep apnea while on the road.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes the truck driver to experience breathing disruptions in their sleep. This occurs when the soft tissues in their throat collapse and block their airway, causing them to stop breathing for at least 10 seconds. These breathing disruptions can occur upwards of 400 times a night! Many times, the individual isn’t aware of the breathing disruptions and will experience morning headaches and nausea, gasping or choking while sleeping, excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability, and concentration and memory problems.
Sleep apnea is most prevalent in individuals that are overweight, smoke, consume alcohol, and are over the age of 40 — which many truck drivers are.
How Sleep Apnea Affects a Truckers Driving
When a truck driver has sleep apnea, they will feel fatigued and unrested during the day — even after getting a full night’s sleep. They’re more likely to experience difficulty concentrating, staying awake, and focusing on the road. As a result, truck drivers with undiagnosed sleep apnea have a much greater risk of getting into a collision or accident while on the job.
To lower the risk of fatigue-related collisions, truck drivers must undergo sleep apnea testing. Through the test, the individual will be able to determine if they have the sleep disorder, and if so, choose the right treatment plan to help them get the sleep they need to perform optimally while on the road.
Tips for Truck Drivers with Sleep Apnea
To ensure the safety of themselves and those around them, truck drivers diagnosed with sleep apnea should follow these safety tips:
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep – Conditions on the road can make it challenging to get a full night’s sleep, but if a truck driver suffers from sleep apnea, getting ample sleep is of the utmost importance.
- Avoid driving after midnight – Depending on the route the driver must take; it may be difficult to travel during daytime hours without hitting a ton of traffic. However, driving between midnight and 7 am can be dangerous for a sleep apnea patient as it is increasingly difficult to focus and concentrate in the darkness.
- Use a CPAP machine – Although traveling with a CPAP machine might seem inconvenient, the truck driver must follow the treatment plan set up by their sleep physician. They need to consider the different places they will be sleeping (i.e., in the truck, at a hotel, etc.) and make sure they have the correct hookups to use their machine in any situation.
Scheduling an At-Home Sleep Study for Truckers
ApneaMed’s at-home sleep apnea test provides a comfortable, convenient, and affordable option. If you need another sleep apnea test, you can perform a self-administered sleep study from the comfort of your own home (or on the road).
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is often recommended if diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. The commercial truck driver can get the equipment they need from ApneaMed. ApneaMed offers AutoPAP machines that work similarly to CPAP, but the device can readjust pressure as required. The APAP machine will keep the driver’s airways open while they sleep by providing self-adjusted air pressure throughout the night — allowing them to get a deeper, more sound sleep. A well-rested truck driver is a safer driver who saves time and money.
Contact our team to learn more if you have any questions about ApneaMed’s at-home sleep apnea test or our sleep apnea treatment equipment.