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Sleep Apnea: What Every Trucking Company Needs to Know

Sleep apnea has shown to be a prevalent and recurring diagnosis in the fleet trucking industry. By definition, sleep apnea is a temporary cessation of breathing while you are asleep. It can occur over 100 times each hour in some severe cases. It is a disorder that is treatable, however it also worsens with age and weight gain. If sleep apnea remains untreated, it can lead to serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, anxiety, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, depression, respiratory disorders, and heartburn. Untreated sleep apnea also makes the driver at 2 to 7 times more likely to get into a motor vehicle accident. In addition, drivers who remain untreated for sleep apnea tend to revert to less effective habits to stay awake and alert, including smoking cigarettes and drinking caffeine; these habits just perpetuate the unhealthy and detrimental lifestyles of these drivers. On the other hand, sleep apnea that is treated results in reduced healthcare costs for both the driver and the employer. Treated sleep apnea allows the drivers to increase their productivity immensely and go through their work day with an alert and active mind. As a fleet owner, becoming proactive and investing in a program to advise all of your drivers to get tested and/or treated for sleep apnea can be a very constructive decision, yielding higher retention of your drivers, loads being delivered on time since treated drivers will no longer have to pull over to nap during the workday, and self-assurance that your drivers are not adding danger to the roads.

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