Long-distance trucking is a great way to make money while seeing the country. However, like all occupations, it has its hazards. Among these are the effects of irregular schedules, long hours of sitting with no exercise, and less than healthy food choices. Together these can cause transportation professionals to develop chronic sleeping problems that may affect your health as well as your ability to operate a tractor-trailer. Sleep apnea and truck drivers can be a deadly combination, but the condition is treatable. So here are some facts you should know about sleep apnea and truck drivers.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which the throat becomes obstructed while a person is asleep. This reduces the amount of air they take in, partially starving body and brain cells of oxygen. The sufferer may also wake up multiple times during the night. The result is poor sleep that fails to refresh the person adequately. Symptoms include excessive daytime fatigue, falling asleep unintentionally, foggy or confused thinking, irritability, and snoring.
If you suspect you have this disorder, the first step is to visit your doctor. He or she will perform a physical and gauge your overall condition. You might be referred to a sleep specialist, who will schedule a time for you to spend the night at a special clinic. These are very comfortable and relaxing settings, so don’t picture a hospital bed and nurses running around all evening. While you rest, medical professionals will observe you for signs of apnea.
If you’re diagnosed with this condition, there are a number of effective treatment options. These include special sleep masks or mouthpieces, as well as oral surgery. Your doctor will help you decide which course of treatment is best for you.
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