Sleep apnea is a primary concern of the US Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, as it concerns motor vehicle accidents. As all ISP entrepreneurs know, the importance of reducing accidents, injuries and deaths with commercial motor vehicles is crucial in the industry.
How can I tell if I have sleep apnea?
Major signs and symptoms of sleep apnea can include pauses while snoring (if suffocation or gasping follow these pauses this is a big sign), as well as fighting fatigue during the day (you may find yourself falling asleep quickly during times of the day when you are not active). Even if you do not have daytime sleepiness, be sure to talk to your doctor if you have difficulty breathing while sleeping as it can be a major health problem.
Other common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include morning headache, memory or learning disabilities, inability to concentrate, feeling irritated, depressed, having mood swings or personality changes, waking up frequently to urinate and experiencing dry mouth or sore throat when waking up .
How can I prevent myself from getting sleep apnea?
There are many ways to reduce the risk of sleep apnea. Losing weight can play an important role in reducing the risk, as overweight people have extra tissue in the back of the neck that can fall over the airways and block the flow of air into the lungs while they sleep. Quitting smoking can also help reduce the risk as smoking increases inflammation and fluid retention in the throat and upper respiratory tract.
Other preventative measures you can take are to avoid alcohol, sleeping pills and sedatives (especially before bedtime as they relax the muscles in the throat and interfere with breathing), as well as to avoid caffeine and heavy meals within 2 hours after bedtime and maintain a regular sleep schedule.
Other Ways to Prevent Sleep Apnea
There are also several changes you can make in the way you sleep that can help prevent sleep apnea. These include sleeping on your side (avoid sleeping on your back as gravity makes the tongue and soft tissues more likely to lose and obstruct the airways), support your head with an extra pillow and finally open the nasal passages as much as you can by using a nasal dilator, saline solution, breathing strips or a neti pot.
Sleep apnea can have a major impact on truck drivers at both safety and performance levels. If you feel that your sleep apnea is severe or that these tips do not help you, you may need to see a doctor to discuss additional medical treatments. This is not something you should sit on, make sure you get the medical help you need right away.
We all know how important proper rest is to maintain safe driving. At Paradiso Insurance, we want to ensure that your team has the tools and resources they need to be safe and help keep injuries low. For more information or to hear about other ways we can help your ISP