Many commercial drivers face the challenge of managing consistent sleep. On top of that, some even struggle with sleep apnea. With overnight drives, social isolation, and inconsistent working hours, drivers who have obstructive sleep apnea are still driving through sleeplessness. As a result, the driver can fall asleep at the wheel, culminating in deadly crashes and incurring major equipment and infrastructure costs.
Some drivers sleep with a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy (CPAP) machine to get adequate sleep to help prevent them from falling asleep at the wheel. Some drivers use anti-sleep drugs while driving and sleep-aid drugs for sleeping. However, these drugs might cause some severe health issues – and even addiction. First Aid Occupational Health, your DOT Physical exam specialist, has some natural methods for drivers to help reduce sleeping challenges.
Ensure a proper sleeping position
For long haulers, drivers can become over-tired, making it hard to fall asleep. Thus, the first thing a driver can address is her or her sleeping posture. Try to elevate your head slightly and sleep on your side. This can reduce snoring and sleep disruptions.
Use a humidifier
In dry areas, when a humidifier is running while you are sleeping, breathing can become easier, lessening the chances of snoring, which can cause sleeping disruptions. Also, consider adding a diffuser with your favorite essential oil scent, as it can calm your body and muscles for more sound sleep.
Being overweight is one of the major causes of sleep apnea. By its nature, driving limits physical activity and it’s easy to consume extra food and put on weight. When you stop for a break, try doing a brisk 10-minute walk around the truck stop to get the blood pumping.
Reduce or eliminate tobacco and alcohol products
Both tobacco and alcohol cause the release of hormones just like a fight or flight situation. This can place the body in an active mode, making falling asleep and getting restful sleep a chore. Ensure you have a wind-down period in which there is no substance consumption before sleeping.
Choose healthier food options
Some drivers have heartburn and digestion problems as a result of poor food choices on the road. This makes it hard to sleep. Try replacing a processed sugar snack by pre-planning. Have healthy whole food options on hand during your trip such as fresh fruit, avocados, or crunchy vegetables like carrots or broccoli in order to reduce heartburn and digestion problems.
Hire a Health Coach
Did you know that First Aid Occupational Health now has a certified health and wellness coaching program to help improve your health while you’re on the road? Health coaches help you set weekly goals and help hold you accountable so you can achieve your goals. Coaching call help you implement the strategies mentioned in this article. Call (970) 812-3864 today for a free consultation or visit www.firstaidocchealth.com to inquire. Your company may even pay for the program!