Sleep Apnea and It’s Affects

One of the biggest concerns for fleet managers and truck drivers is first and foremost their safety. When the drivers are at their best, they perform more efficiently and effectively. While we like to think that all drivers out on the road are at 100%, would it be a shock to learn that close to one-third of commercial truck drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea. In a study by the ATAs Research Institute found that 28 percent of truck drivers suffer from sleep apnea. Before we go into what sleep apnea is and how it affects us, we need to know first why we need sleep.

Sleeping is a crucial function that our body needs. After a good night’s sleep, you wake feeling refreshed, more alert, energetic, and happier. Who wouldn’t want that? However, when you sleep your body is doing so much more. Most people think that sleep is a time when the mind and body shut down, but this is the complete opposite of what really happens. During sleep, your mind is processing information from throughout the day and your body restores and strengthens. When you wake up, you are ready to do it all over again.

There are many factors that can keep you from getting a goodnights rest, but sleep apnea can potentially become a life-threatening condition that, sadly, often goes undiagnosed. This condition caused brief interruptions of breathing during sleep which is not noticed because it doesn’t fully wake the sleeper. It does however keep you from getting the necessary rest that your mind and body needs. With the interruptions of breathing up to 400 times is a night, serious issues can occur. For drivers, sleep apnea causes fatigue, which makes it difficult to stay awake, focus, and lowers your reaction time. Any one of these can increase the risk of being in an accident due to fatigue. While you may not fall asleep while driving, just remember that not having full attention on the road can lead to disaster.

It would be difficult to self-diagnose sleep apnea, but if you have any of the following symptoms, please consult your doctor to get the proper testing. We want to make sure you are always safe on the road.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea:

  • Loud snoring
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches and nausea
  • Concentration and memory problems

American Heart Month and Truckers

Our past few post have been about our health and ways to become healthier by eating right and exercising. Why put so much effort into helping people have a better understanding of how to live healthier? Two words… Heart disease. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women. Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, and believe it or not, can be prevented or delayed. Prevention is as easy as eating right, exercising, and many other factors. While this is an important topic to discuss all year around, February is American Heart Month. All this month, millions of Americans will be educated about the issue concerning all Americans, including truckers.

What contributes to heart disease? Many risk factors including high blood pressure, smoking, stress, obesity, high cholesterol, and lack of physical activity contributes to heart disease. Each of these factors are controllable, and more than half can be controlled by eating healthy and exercising. The two factors we haven’t discussed ways to prevent heart disease is smoking and stress. While smoking may seem like an easy factor to take care of, it can be quite a task because of the withdrawal symptoms. Cigarettes are addictive due to the Nicotine contained inside, but with all the other chemicals that are included contribute to heart disease. If you don’t think that you can quit, don’t worry, you’re not alone. There are many options for smokers that want to quit, but will only work if you work towards it. Stress, when not under control can be dangerous. However, with proper stress management strategies you will be able to take the bad stresses of life and throw them out your truck window. The great thing about these strategies is, they aren’t hard to do at all. You wouldn’t believe how great social engagement is when it comes to relieving stress. And don’t forget about the three A’s; Avoid, Alter, and Adapt. Avoiding unnecessary stress, altering the situations, and adapting to the situations work wonders in keeping stress levels low.

As we continue to work towards a healthier 2016, we have to keep in mind that our heart is just like an engine. It’s required for us to work and without it, we wouldn’t be here. Take care of it and you will lead a healthy life. Honestly, if you are working towards becoming healthier by exercising and eating right, factors that aid in keeping heart disease away fall into place. Make it a challenge for yourself to work on one area, whether it’s eating right, exercising, or keeping the stress levels low. Once you are in a routine with one, you will find that it’s easier to do another!