Truckers and Sleep Apnea - A Real Problem
Bad Sleep From Sleep Apnea
Semi truck drivers have all probably heard about sleep apnea, which in its most basic terms, is a condition where a person regularly wakes up during the night because they don't get enough air when they breathe. This problem means that although you may be asleep, it isn't restful sleep, so that you may be constantly tired and have a tendency to doze off. But here is some research that you need to know:
Sleep apnea is one of the major causes of driver fatigue and sleepiness, and is thought to increase the risk of a car or truck accident by two- to seven-fold. What's more, the havoc and fatalities associated with sleep-related accidents jump exponentially when one of the millions of licensed commercial truck drivers thought to have sleep apnea dozes off while driving an 18-wheeler.
A random study of active commercial truck drivers conducted by the University of Pennsylvania Center for Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology from 1986 to 1998 revealed the following about the 406 drivers selected to participate in their overnight sleep study:
- 7% had severe sleep apnea
- 8% had moderate sleep apnea
- 21% had mild sleep apnea
The study researchers noted that the prevalence of sleep apnea depended on the relationship of two critical factors: age and the degree of obesity as measured by Body Mass Index, or BMI. As age and BMI increased, so did sleep apnea.
A recent study from Harvard researchers has reconfirmed several previous findings that obesity is often linked with commercial truck drivers who have sleep apnea. The 15-month study of 456 commercial drivers reported that 17% had sleep apnea.
Don't let this information go. Get tested, get a CPAP if needed, and be a safer driver on the road.
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