Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for all but especially true for drivers in the trucking industry. Poor sleep can drastically affect one’s decision-making and reaction times. That’s why it’s of the utmost importance to bring awareness to conditions such as sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a fairly common condition that comes with significant safety concerns. If untreated, sleep apnea can minimize a driver’s ability to focus and increase the likelihood of an accident occurring. In this blog, we will break down what sleep apnea is and how companies can take measures to protect their drivers.
Sleep Apnea: What Is It?
Sleep apnea is a sleep-related breathing disorder that is characterized by abnormal breathing patterns during sleep. People with sleep apnea will experience repeated pauses in their breathing that can last 10 seconds at a time up to 400 times in one night. In the United States, there are 6 million people diagnosed with sleep apnea; however, as it usually goes undiagnosed, it’s estimated that around 30 million people have the condition.
Symptoms To Look Out For
The main symptom of sleep apnea is abnormal nighttime breathing, which can lead to an array of different daytime effects including drowsiness. Here are some common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Loud and frequent snoring
- Headaches in the morning that persist for hours
- Gasping or choking during sleep
- Periods of wakefulness during the night
- Increased irritability or mood swings
- Concentration and memory issues
It can be difficult to figure out if you have sleep apnea as many of the symptoms, like abnormal breathing and snoring, may only come to a person’s attention from a bed partner. If an individual experiences any of the listed symptoms, it’s highly recommended to consult a doctor.
Sleep apnea affects a wide range of individuals, but there are certain factors that can increase the chances of sleep apnea developing. This includes a family history of the condition, being over the age of 40, smoking, drinking, or health issues like obesity.
Sleep Apnea & The Trucking Industry
Educating drivers on the severity of sleep apnea is vital to the safety of your team and organization. If left untreated, sleep apnea can have negative impacts on driving skills by hindering your ability to stay awake, make quick decisions, and think rationally. Studies have shown that individuals with sleep apnea have a higher risk of being involved in a fatigue-related accident.
To ensure the protection of your drivers and equipment, it’s necessary to educate them on the signs of sleep apnea. Furthermore, you could even go as far as offering tests at a sleep center through your organization’s insurance plan. This could potentially help identify undiagnosed sleep apnea in thousands of drivers across the country. By taking preemptive measures, you can decrease the chances of a fatigue-related accident occurring.
Ensure Your Drivers Are Ready To Hit The Road
Sleep apnea is a much more common condition than people tend to think. There are millions of Americans with the condition who don’t even know they have it. Therefore, any person who wants to be a commercial truck driver should be aware if they have sleep apnea. Still have questions? RRL Insurance is here to help. No matter how big or small your operations are, we can help answer any public auto and truckers insurance questions you may have. For more information on how we can help, please contact us to set up an appointment.