Does your partner claim you snore loudly? Do you wake up gasping in the middle of the night? Are you exhausted every day, no matter how much sleep you got the night before? If you answered yes to any of these, you could be a truck driver with sleep apnea.
The primary risk factors for sleep apnea are similar to the demographics that make up the brunt of the commercial driver population: male, overweight and over age 40. According to the Protecting Professional Drivers (PPD) website, up to 28 percent of truck drivers have sleep apnea. Fortunately, the condition is diagnosable and treatable.
Sleep apnea develops when breathing is interrupted during sleep. The most common type, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), occurs when tissues in the throat collapse, producing loud snoring and a completely blocked airway. Those with the condition can attest to how exhausting it is to have their sleep cycle interrupted as frequently as every 30 seconds all night long.
PPD offers an effective treatment option for patients with OSA called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP. This is when you wear a mask over your nose that gently blows heated, humidified air into the throat while you sleep. The airflow is set to your individual needs and acts as a “splint” to keep the airway open.
A growing number of truck drivers are volunteering for the screening process and CPAP treatment. Here’s a look at one truck driver’s life-changing experience overcoming sleep apnea with CPAP:
“I was always exhausted throughout the day. I nodded off all the time and would even doze off in the middle of a conversation. Not only was it embarrassing, it was dangerous. I finally agreed to a sleep study after talking with a doctor. The sleep study confirmed I had severe sleep apnea. The test showed I never achieved REM sleep during a four-hour period. I stopped breathing an average of nine times an hour, and I tossed and turned throughout the sleep study. I was amazed when I saw the video of me sleeping.
“I was fitted for a CPAP machine. Yes, it did take a couple nights to get used to it, but it has been a life changer. I sleep straight through the night and wake up refreshed. My wife is glad because I don’t snore or gasp when I sleep. I use what is called a nasal pillow, which is very small and does not smother me. I don’t even take a nap without my CPAP on.”
If you are interested in participating in a sleep study to learn whether you have sleep apnea, visit the PPD website for more information. Then, learn about opportunities for truck drivers by visiting the Jiggy Jobs website and finding us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.