Many commercial truckers are plagued with the problem of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a condition usually caused by the tongue falling back and blocking the airway for anywhere between 10 and 90 seconds while the person is sleeping. This creates breathing pauses where the person is not getting oxygen. There are many who suffer from this problem, with episodes occurring 5 to 100 times each hour while sleeping. This is not only a dangerous condition to their long-term health, but it also deprives them of the necessary sleep required to function effectively on the job. For commercial truckers, consistent lack of sleep due to Sleep Apnea can result in impaired analytical skills, dozing off at the wheel and accidents that injure persons, take lives and loose freight. And employers are saddled with higher insurance rates, a less productive workforce and late deliveries.

“Sleepiness and inattention, which are common symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, are believed to contribute to many commercial vehicle crashes each year,” says Dr. Nancy Collop, M.D., with the American College of Chest Physicians Sleep Institute. “Conflicting approaches to screening and management of OSA have left drivers undiagnosed, which puts the driver and general public at risk”.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), upwards of 28 percent of commercial truckers have sleep breathing disorders, including Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

NTSB Labels Sleep Apnea ‘Major Safety Issue’
In a statement issued in March, 2010 by the Honorable Deborah A.P. Hersman, Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, regarding commercial transportation accidents (trucking, airlines, rail, shipping) she stated, “One risk factor that we have seen linked to many fatigue-related accidents is sleep disorders, particularly Obstructive Sleep Apnea – where operators were impaired because of undiagnosed or improperly managed Sleep Apnea.” 

Ms. Hersman added, “The Safety Board has recognized that Sleep Apnea is a major safety issue.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stressed the danger of OSA in its June, 2008 National Guidelines, “Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a significant risk factor for the development of hypertension and has been associated with Type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease and may lead to significant impairments in quality of life.” It further states, “Untreated Sleep Apnea will mimic or exacerbate depression, ADHD, and other chronic disorders.”

Those with severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea have typically relied upon the use of a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP), the most prescribed treatment for OSA. It employs a mask which fits over the person’s nose and mouth during sleep and blows high-pressured air into the mouth, or up the nose, to open the airway. It is a successful treatment when used, but many find it very uncomfortable – resulting in the CPAP being rejected by 50 to 75 percent of persons who have tried it. 

For truckers who are afflicted with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, yet cannot tolerate using the CPAP, this presents a significant problem. 

Alternative Solution for Drivers with Sleep Apnea
As an alternative for CPAP-intolerant persons, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends the use of oral appliances (mouthpieces) for the treatment of OSA, “Oral appliances are a recommended treatment for patients with mild OSA who have not responded to lifestyle modification or who are intolerant of positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices.” This recognition, along with others from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, have certified the use of oral appliances for the treatment of Sleep Apnea as administered through dental practitioners. 

For the most part, the dental mouthpieces that are available obtain their success by advancing the jaw forward. The tongue is thus pulled forward and the airway is opened. Many of these oral appliances, however, have proven to be uncomfortable causing jaw pain.

But recent and significant improvements have been made in the design of some oral mouthpieces to make them not only more comfortable, but more effective in reducing the incidence of OSA episodes and snoring. The most effective of these devices is the Full Breath Solution®. Having received its fifth FDA certification in 2009 (more than any other mouthpiece used for Sleep Apnea or snoring) and two patents, the device is the most successful oral sleep mouthpiece in use. It presents a very different approach to treatment. 

“Rather than pulling the tongue forward by advancing the jaw, the Full Breath Solution works by utilizing a tail that restrains the tongue from moving upward and backward,” says Dr. Bryan Keropian, D.D.S., inventor of the Full Breath Solution and founder of the Center for Snoring & CPAP Intolerance ( which provides non-surgical treatment for patients who are CPAP-intolerant. “The tail lightly depresses the tongue and prevents its movement backward, keeping the airway unblocked. The length of the tail is custom-fitted to each person, using advanced dental imaging for precise diagnostics to ensure the most comfortable and effective placement.” 

78 Percent Reduction in Sleep Apnea, 95 Percent Reduction in Snoring
Using the Full Breath Solution, for the first time Sleep Apnea-plagued individuals are achieving a consistent 78.9 percent reduction in OSA events, as acknowledged by the FDA in its latest 2009 certification. Additionally, 95 percent of patients have shown an elimination of snoring. 

For those truckers intolerant of using continuous positive airway pressure machines, the Full Breath Solution mouthpiece is an ideal alternative – easy to use and quite portable, about the size of a dental retainer.

Truckers can now more easily avail themselves of a solution to their Sleep Apnea, resulting in a much better quality of sleep, better health and safer driving conditions. 

The Full Breath Solution is reimbursed by both medical insurance and Medicare. For more information, contact the Center for Snoring and CPAP Intolerance; Phone 866-598-0220; 18663 Ventura Blvd., Suite 200, Tarzana, CA 91356; email;