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Best Sleeping Practices for Truckers Pt. 3 – Sleep Apnea

Over the past few weeks, we have discussed a number of reasons why Professional Truck Drivers will have difficulty finding sleep on the road, including the correct amount of sleep, and the right consistency of sleep.

However, we have set aside this blog post to discuss one of the most significant contributors to poor sleep: Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea is a condition which goes undiagnosed in many Drivers.

Sleep Apnea is a breathing-related sleep disorder that causes brief interruptions of breathing during sleep.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of Sleep Apnea are:

  • Loud Snoring
  • Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Difficulty paying attention while awake
  • Irritability

According to the ATRI, almost one-third of Professional Truck Drivers have mild-severe Sleep Apnea.

Sleep Apnea Types

Sleep Apnea can break down into three main types:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea: more common and occurs when throat muscles relax
  • Central Sleep Apnea: occurs when your brain does not send the proper signal to the muscles that control breathing
  • Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome: occurs when someone has both obstructive and central sleep apnea

With each pause lasting up to 10 seconds and occurring up to 400 times a night, that does not create a healthy sleeping environment for most Drivers. Fortunately, there are solutions for this issue.

CPAP Machines

Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) machines help to cut down on sleep apnea. And at ShipEX, your paid Medical Benefits can be used to pay a discounted price on a CPAP Machine.

But using a CPAP Machine is not a simple plug and play solution for Sleep Apnea. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are 10 common problems with getting used to CPAP Machines.

The biggest issues come down to having the correct style and size of CPAP mask. From there, it is necessary to simply get used to wearing the CPAP mask.

For instance, getting used to tolerating forced air, dealing with a dry and stuffy nose, skin irritations, and acclimating to the possible feeling of claustrophobia.

One of the solutions for getting used to wearing a CPAP mask is to simply wear it while you are awake and doing other tasks such as watching television.

Apart from the correct size CPAP mask, the most important step in getting the most out of your CPAP machine is to use it as consistently as possible. While it might be uncomfortable to use for the first week or so, continued use of your CPAP will help you dial in and get the most out of the device.

Getting a good night’s rest is vital to your work and safety as a Professional Truck Driver and should not be skipped out on. Take the time to work on getting a good night’s rest and do not cheat yourself of restful sleep.

Most importantly, if you are feeling sleepy while driving, pull over and get a nap and begin driving only when you feel well-rested. Never compromise or work for a company that demands that you drive, even while feeling tired.

Disclaimer: 
This blog post is for informational purposes only.  ShipEX makes no warranties about the completeness, reliability or accuracy of this information.  Any action that you take upon the information on this website is strictly at your own risk, and ShipEX will not be liable for any losses and damages in connection therewith.  Furthermore, nothing in this blog alters ShipEX Policies which are subject to change without notice.