Sleep troubles are more than draining personal problems; they can cause serious and dangerous consequences in the workplace. This is especially true for commercial truck drivers, who must remain sharp and alert to be safe.
One condition alone, obstructive sleep apnea, causes more than 310,000 motor-vehicle collisions a year in the U.S., resulting in approximately 1,400 fatalities and $15.9 billion in costs. This prevalent and serious sleep disorder impairs drivers similarly to being legally drunk and makes them four to six times more likely to be involved in a collision.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that prevents restful sleep because the sufferer intermittently stops breathing during sleep. Ultimately, that interrupted sleep leads to sleep deprivation. Approximately 18 million people have sleep apnea, 85 percent of whom are undiagnosed.
Sleep is a vital bodily function, with most adults requiring seven to nine hours of sleep nightly. Chronic sleep deprivation causes cognitive impairment, such as thinking more slowly, becoming more prone to mistakes, having increased memory recall problems and being involved in accidents. Plus, sleep deprivation is associated with colds and flu, weight gain, stomach problems, menstrual irregularities, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, an increased risk of stroke, and an overall higher death rate.
Discovering obstructive sleep apnea early is key to reducing related workplace ramifications. To find out about screening your employees for obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders, contact Saint Francis Medical Center's Services to Business at 573-331-5825.