At Smith Transport, we feel our top of the line fleet isn’t the only think we keep in prime condition. To be the best driver, you’ve got to take care of your health as well.
Luckily, taking care of yourself doesn’t have to include running marathons. Truck drivers can go a long way towards staying on the road just by making small changes. And sometimes, those small changes can prevent or lessen the effects of more serious issues.
One issue of growing concern among the trucking community is the prevalence of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The disorder causes interruptions to breathing during sleep that may last only a few seconds, but can occur hundreds of times per night. In more standard cases, the affliction can ruin a good night’s sleep. In extreme cases, the disease can become life threatening. Unfortunately, a University of Pennsylvania study found that nearly 3 out of 10 truck drivers are likely suffer from sleep apnea.
So what’s the concern with OSA and how can you avoid it? Well, we all know how important it is to be focused on the road – especially behind the wheel of something as large and powerful as a tractor-trailer. Driving on low amounts of sleep – such as five hours in a night – is just about as bad as driving while intoxicated. If you’re losing shut-eye due to sleep apnea, you’d be smart to visit a doctor and see about some treatment rather than put your career and safety at risk.
What can a truck driver do? Like many things, it depends. More serious cases are often treated with nasal positive airway pressure (PAP) machines, which force lightly pressurized air into your airway during sleep and reduce the risk of an apnea occurring. Many of these machines are compatible with power inverters and can be used in the cab while you sleep. A doctor can help you decide whether this treatment is right for you.
More generally, another smart way to attack sleep apnea is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Of the risk factors for the disorder, many are commonly known factors like smoking, alcohol use, and obesity. Adopting improved health habits can reduce your risk for sleep apnea in the first place and make existing mild cases less likely to become severe. You’ll get a better night’s sleep and have more energy throughout your workday. Not too bad, huh?
With a little awareness and a bit more effort, we can make the industry safer and more successful for all of us. Count more sheep, count more miles (and dollars)!
Are you interested in learning more about building a happy, healthy, and successful career in truck driving?
Give one of Smith Transport’s recruiters a call at 866.265.3718 or take a moment to apply online. We have multiple career opportunities for company drivers, tanker drivers and dedicated positions. Check out our available jobs now!