When you’re behind the wheel, getting a good night’s sleep is key to being alert and making safe decisions. Each year, thousands of people are killed in car accidents caused by driving tired. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2.2% of all traffic accident fatalities can be attributed to drivers who are sleep-deprived. This is a serious problem, as sleepiness can impair a driver’s ability to concentrate, react quickly, and make safe decisions. For commercial truck drivers, who often spend hours on the road, the risks posed by drowsy driving are especially high. Sleep apnea, a condition that can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, when left untreated, can greatly increase the risk of accidents. This is a major concern for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
What is Sleep Apnea and it’s affects on truck drivers?
Sleep apnea is a common sleeping disorder that can have serious consequences. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can be dangerous. It happens when you stop breathing for a while and then start again. Sleep apnea can cause loud snoring and daytime sleepiness. Studies have shown that people with sleep apnea are at an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.
Truck drivers are especially at risk of developing sleep apnea because of other health factors, including an unbalanced diet, inconsistent sleep patterns, and age. A study in 2002 showed that roughly 1/3 of truck drivers in the USA suffered from sleep apnea. Those numbers have stayed consistent in the two decades since, but the number of solutions to the sleep apnea problem has grown since then.
For truck drivers, sleep apnea itself doesn’t necessarily disqualify them from driving. However, it can put them at risk of making a mistake on the road that could result in an accident. Although there are no federal regulations against driving a CMV while diagnosed with sleep apnea, drivers can still get denied medical certification if they continue to leave it untreated.
Is there a better solution than cpap machine?
Truck drivers with sleep apnea have even more challenges than most. They are on the road for long hours and need to be rested and alert to stay safe. Sleeping in a truck can be made even more difficult with a CPAP machine, which is the most common solution for sleep apnea. CPAP machines typically consist of a humidifier, air pump, and face mask. The major draw of CPAP machines is that they are typically easy to use, and most doctors recommend them. However, for over-the-road drivers who sleep in sleeper berths or hotels, CPAP machines can be inconvenient or just plain uncomfortable.
Here at Sleep Matters, we provide safe, effective, and comfortable alternatives endorsed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Oral Appliance Therapy effectively and comfortably treats obstructive sleep apnea through custom-fitted oral appliances that reposition the jaw in a precise way preventing the airway from collapsing. As a result, truck drivers can get the rest they need to stay safe on the road.
How to get alternative treatment?
Truck drivers often suffer from sleep apnea, which can pose a serious threat to their safety on the road. Ultimately, sleep apnea is treatable and drivers who are suffering have options to relieve their symptoms while they work toward a healthier lifestyle. If you have tried a CPAP machine and it doesn’t work for your situation, give us a call or schedule a consultation. Our team will develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your unique needs. With the right care, you can get your sleep apnea under control and get back to driving safely.