Comment: Sleep apnoea is a serious health issue

By: Emma Godwin, Sector Administration Manager, Photography by: Supplied

The prevalent yet often undiagnosed sleep disorder, sleep apnoea, can have serious health implications


In a world that constantly races against the clock, the importance of a good night’s sleep cannot be overstated. However, for many individuals, the journey to a restful night’s sleep is hindered by the silent disruptor known as sleep apnoea.

The prevalent yet often undiagnosed sleep disorder can have serious health implications, and the importance of getting tested is particularly pronounced for log truck drivers, whose demanding and often irregular schedules can significantly impact their sleep quality and overall health.

The word ‘apnoea’ literally means ‘without breath’ and is characterised by interruptions in breathing during sleep and occur when the muscles at the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, despite the effort to breathe.

The repeated pauses in breathing can last for a few seconds to a minute, disrupting the natural sleep cycle and preventing the affected individual from obtaining deep, restorative sleep.

Consequently, those with untreated sleep apnoea often experience excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and may be at an increased risk of other health issues such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Fit for Duty


Recognising the critical need for widespread sleep apnoea awareness and diagnosis, the Log Transport Safety Council (LTSC) has been and is committed to spreading awareness and helping the industry to have readily available testing kits through the collaboration with Fit for Duty.

Earlier this year, LTSC reviewed the sleep apnoea screening that was on offer to our membership and through this the outcome was a much-needed update of the testing kits as well as the agreement to continue with subsidising the process for drivers.

The new testing kits provided is now a OneSleepTest (OST), a quick and reliable home sleep test you can use to assess your sleep and your risk of sleep apnoea in the comfort of your own home.

It consists of a small disposable NightOwl sensor that you tape to your fingertip, making the process minimally obstructive, and a NightOwl companion app that guides you through every step of the test.

The updated programme design is as follows:

  1. LTSC Members to provide drivers access to OSA education and resources. (Get in touch with for these resources).
  2. Manager to complete the LTSC Members ‘referral for overnight testing’ form.
  3. Referral is received and acknowledged.
  4. OneSleepTest (OST) is issued to the individual.
  5. Once OST is completed the data is reviewed by our physiologists who will email the outcome report to the individual (the individual has the opportunity to speak with one of the team to go through the results).
  6. An outcome letter will be sent to the associated manager/supervisor making treatment/intervention recommendations as necessary.
  7. Follow up conversation with manager/supervisor to agree on next steps.
  8. If a trial of CPAP is agreed, the equipment will be issued. CPAP therapy support will be provided for the duration of the trial.
  9. A summary of the completed CPAP trial will be provided to the manager/supervisor and company doctor (if applicable).
  10. For those individuals who successfully tolerate & establish to CPAP, there are options for the long term provision of the sleep therapy. These including signing up for one of our therapy plans or purchase of a device.

Through working with Fit for Duty, copies of the outcome from the trial are NOT sent through to the individual’s GP without written consent.

The outcome of the studies are also not shared with NZTA so there is nothing drivers should fear in getting the test done if there is any suspicion in potentially having sleep apnoea.

The importance of getting a sleep apnoea test cannot be overstated for individuals working as log truck drivers, especially if they believe they are at risk.

The demanding nature of the profession, characterised by long hours on the road and irregular sleep patterns, underscores the critical need for drivers to prioritise their sleep health.

It is not just a matter of personal health—it is a commitment to professional excellence, road safety, and overall well-being. By taking this proactive step, log truck drivers can contribute to a safer, healthier, and more sustainable future for themselves and the industry.

For more information, talk to your employer, scan the QR code, or visit

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