Although it might seem like a great job, driving on the open roads for hours can be physically exhausting. Truck drivers must drive late into the night, and they rarely stop for 8 hours of sleep. Driving with less than normal sleep can cause a lot of physical problems. Your local NYC sleep doctor wants to highlight the most common sleep issues for truckers that could have long-term physical repercussions.
Commercial Driving Accidents from Sleep Deprivation
Drowsy driving is the most common cause of commercial accidents. This is because truck drivers have a long and exhausting schedule that they must follow throughout the night. According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), more than a third of drivers suffer from Sleep Apnea and many of them don’t know it.
Common Sleep Issues for Truckers
There are a lot of common issues that most truckers around the world are prone to depending on how many hours they drive and whether or not they are in good health before they take the long trip.
Shift Work Syndrome
This condition can affect your circadian rhythm cycle. On average, it causes sleep loss of at least 1-4 hours per night. This is the most common symptom among truckers and those who work overnight shifts and shifts that last longer than 12 hours.
Insomnia occurs when it is difficult to fall asleep on a repeated basis. It can be really difficult to stay awake or asleep for long periods of time, interrupting daily schedules and patterns to the detriment of the patient.
This is the most dangerous type of sleep disorder drivers can face. Your breathing stops and frequently restarts during your rest. If left untreated, it can lead to high blood pressure and other issues.
Sleep deprivation refers to a severe lack of sleep that causes extreme drowsiness. If you feel like you are unable to get the sleep that you want, and you have to push through your work even though you are tired, this can cause really damaging health issues that need to be addressed by your sleep doctor.
Commercial Drivers Need to Sleep Well!
You should pull over if you start to yawn. If your vision becomes blurred or you have trouble keeping your eyes open, you should stop driving. There may be other symptoms when you feel tired. Stop ignoring signs of sleepiness and get to know your body. Here are some other tips to follow as a truck driver on the road:
Get Enough Sleep Before You Drive
You should make sure that you sleep well if you don’t know how much sleep you will get while working. Respect the 34-hour wait between driving sessions, and get as much rest as possible during that time. Give yourself permission to fall asleep whenever you feel tired, even during the day. You don’t have a set schedule, so it is important to be flexible and meet your body’s needs whenever they occur.
Get a Nap When You’re Tired
Take a break if you feel tired while driving. It can be difficult to do this when you are on another person’s schedule. However, it is better to pull over and take a nap than to get in an accident. A 45-minute nap is your ideal length. Try to get your nap in before you feel sleepy. This will make you feel more rested. Even a brief nap can make you feel more awake than caffeine.
Avoid Sleeping Pills
While you shouldn’t drive under the influence, many other medications can cause you to become sleepy. You can verify the labeling to be certain. Avoid cold medicines, allergy medications, and medications for anxiety or depression. Before you drive, make sure to test the medication.
Don’t Sacrifice a Good Night’s Sleep!
You’ve probably experienced fatigue if you are a long-haul trucker, or if you drive commercially. It’s part of the job and people have their own strategies for dealing with it. Not all of them are healthy. Although it isn’t always easy, everyone knows that this side of the job is important. This is a very serious issue, which many people don’t realize. Get in touch with your New York sleep doctor today to learn about truck driver sleep treatments that can help you keep your work schedule without letting it affect your sleep!