Dr. Barker evaluates Boggs at his annual exam
NSF found pilots, train operators, and truck drivers reported being tired on the job, and sleepiness affecting their work.
More than 40 percent of Americans report a lack of sleep at night. Those numbers prove especially dangerous within the transportation industry.
Scott Boggs holds a commercial drivers license, or CDL, in order to drive a dump truck for Johnson and Galyon in Knoxville. At a check-up two years ago, his doctor recognized symptoms of a sleep disorder.
"I went to renew my health card, which I have to have every two years, and when I went for it he turned me down," Boggs explained. "[My doctor] said I was overweight and my neck size was larger than it should be."
Boggs was diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a sleep disorder that occurs when an individual's upper airway closes off while they sleep, causing the person to temporarily quit breathing.
"Even though the person is trying to breathe, the upper airway closes, blocks the airflow, oxygen drops, the heart and blood pressure are stressed by this," explained Dr. Roseanne Barker of the Barker Sleep Institute. "There's constant awakening through the night because of the breathing difficulties."
In order to keep his CDL, Boggs must stay current on his treatment.
"If I go under compliance, then they pull my health card, and when they pull my health card, my license ain't no good," he said. "And that's how I make my living."
Within the entire transportation industry, lack of sleep is a major problem. In a recent poll, the National Sleep Foundation found pilots, train operators, and truck drivers reported being tired on the job, and sleepiness affecting their work.
In 2010, the FAA issued new rules limiting flight hours and increasing rest times for pilots. Now, Dr. Barker says trucking companies are evaluating their drivers' schedules, too.
"They need to be extra sharp because they're driving larger vehicles, or they may be transporting passengers, or hazardous materials. And so we need them to be even safer you could say than the general public out there driving."
Boggs says his company has been extremely supportive of his efforts to stay healthy, and even help pay for part of treatment.
It has allowed him to get better rest, in order to be more productive during the work day.
"It's just a lot easier to get up in the mornings, you get a better night's rest... and don't feel as tired when you do get up."