It can be very easy to focus solely on the destination when you’re on a long trip. This is why the truckload carrier sets limits on how long a truck driver can spend on the road in a single day. However, there are many other ways to spend your off-time than by sleeping.
Aside from distractions, many people find it difficult to get adequate sleep while they are on the road. There are many possible reasons for this — from uncomfortable sleeping quarters, to loud conditions, to an active mind.
But sleep is important. It helps us feel better. It helps us drive better. And unfortunately, it’s easy to neglect. We all know that we can become more irritable when we’re tired. But there are many more drastic effects that a lack of sleep can have on our attitude, brain function, and general health.
So here are some tips on how you can make proper sleep a priority while you’re on the road.
How to Get Enough Sleep on the Road
You’re not going to be spending every night in a hotel. This means the sleeper cab in the truck, or sometimes even the seat itself is going to have to be good enough. Although this isn’t ideal, there are some things you can do to give yourself the best chance at a good night’s sleep.
Choose the Right Spot
Sleeping in the truck means you have to find a place to put it overnight. And even though the truck is pretty large, you have some options for where you park it for the night. And with these options come a few considerations you should keep in mind.
Your truck is large, and wind can be a factor. Try to find somewhere with some cover so your truck doesn’t rock back and forth all night. You should also try to find an area near other truckers or in the view of other people. This will help deter any possible thieves and give you one less thing to worry about.
Block Out the Light and Sound
Truck stops and highway offramps can be pretty loud. There’s a lot of traffic and there are often a lot of lights. And as you probably know, noise and light don’t make for restful sleep. However, you can block these things out.
Bring along some earplugs so you don’t get woken up by passing cars or others slamming the doors to their trucks. A sleep mask can block out the light that might come from surrounding streetlights or even the rising sun.
Bring Comfortable Bedding
Spending a night in your sleeper cab doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. A little planning is all you need to give you something warm and comfortable to look forward to at the end of a long day of driving.
Grab a nice pillow and blanket before leaving for your trip. It only takes a moment but it can make a huge difference in how you sleep. Your time in bed is a pretty large portion of your day so you might as well make the most out of it.
Stop at the Right Time
Of course there are restrictions on how much a trucker can drive in a certain day. The truckload carrier won’t want you to exceed these hours. But beyond that, you can time out your rest time to best help yourself. It might be tempting to drive through the night because of a reduction in traffic, but your body operates much better when your sleep cycle coincides with the sun.
Our bodies want to go to bed when the sun sets and get up when the sun rises. This is built into us from thousands of years of evolution and it’s called our circadian rhythm.
Take Time to Relax
It can be tough to turn off the truck and immediately hop into bed. This is because our minds are still operating as if we are navigating traffic. Give yourself a little time to unwind before trying to crawl into bed. Go for a short walk. Listen to some music. This is also a good time to call someone back home (unless it’s too late) and chat for a bit.
Giving yourself a moment to unwind puts your mind and body in a much better place to drift off to sleep once you crawl into bed.
It can be very tempting to scroll through the internet during this period of relaxing before sleeping. However, the light from our phones and computers actually tricks our brains into thinking it’s the middle of the day. And as we mentioned before with our circadian rhythm, our brains won’t want to go to sleep if they think it’s the middle of the day.
The light from our devices stimulates our brains and essentially tricks them into remaining alert. Simply avoiding this type of blue light sets you up for a comfortable sleep.