As you know, truck drivers are held to a higher standard on the road. With tens of thousands of pounds bustling down the highway, we really should be. Part of that higher standard requires extra diligence at staying awake. A semi, loaded or unloaded, is a deadly weapon under the sway of a drowsy driver. So at Eagle Logistics, we want to give you some truck driver sleeping strategies.
Before we do that, we want to iterate just how important sleep is. You likely won’t crash due to delaying a meal an extra hour, and you likely won’t crash if you don’t fix your hair due to time constraints (*Note - Please don’t do makeup in the rearview mirror on the way to work.) You will, however, be at a greater risk if you skimp on sleep. According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, almost 10 percent of crashes are due to drowsy driving. There are plenty of ways to shave time off of your trip, so don’t choose sleep as the place to start skimping. If you notice you are doing any of the following behaviors, stop at the next appropriate place to get refreshed.
Your head starts to feel heavy, maybe even bobbing a little
You find yourself blinking a lot and eyelids get heavy
You begin to struggle at focusing your eyes
There are some tricks to staying awake:
Drink ice cold water
Get out and do jumping jacks or walk around the rig
Listen to loud music
Park and take a short nap
Talk to yourself or sing
Spill cold water on your neck or chest
Park and call someone on your phone
Here are some tips for the best truck driver sleeping practices:
If you’ve been driving any, you already know this, but finding a perfect place to rest is a big deal. You need a place that is relatively level, well-lit, quiet, safe, and convenient. That can be a tough task, but it’s worth fighting for. Avoid parking on exit ramps and roadsides when possible. They aren’t safe.
Truck stops and rest areas present a challenge in that you want to keep yourself and your rig safe from harm which requires light, but you need the inside of the truck to have less light. There are shades for the windshield to help with that and sleeping masks are also a great solution to avoiding heavy light pollution.
Many of you need quiet to sleep, or at least a distraction for surrounding sounds such as the conversations of others, passing cars, and whatnot. Headphones, ear plugs, and sound machines are all great options.
Having big things on your mind makes it hard to sleep. From money to relationships to the workplace to events in the world, there are plenty of opportunities to acquire stress. Thankfully, there are also plenty of ways to relieve stress.
Read a book
Change your music to something that’s good for your heart and mood
Make amends where possible
Pursue friendships and reconciliation
Eat light to avoid sluggishness, bloating, and unnecessary guilt
Beware of high carb foods and drinks. Sugar crashes can cause a loss of focus while driving. Caffeine and energy drinks greatly affect the ability to sleep and sleep deeply as well. Eating healthy will go beyond health benefits and include the ability to sleep. So, pack a lunch if necessary, or plan to eat well and exercise. (Be sure to avoid foods that give you heartburn.) The truck stops and other fuel stations have cards stacked against you in the battle to eat well. You’ll have to fight for yourself a little on this one.
Getting your sleeping quarters ready should involve having a decent mattress. It will greatly affect your ability to function well. Of all the potential investments that aid in truck driver sleeping quality, investing in a great mattress is up near the top as a critical and well-spent expenditure.
A good routine will help a lot. If you train your body that certain actions occur just before sleep, that pattern will make your brain anticipate and prepare for sleep. Likewise a good regimen for taking vitamins or exercising or anything that helps with sleep is beneficial. So, having a plan for your time and being mindful of how your habits affect you might just significantly help you in your quest for good sleep.
We’re proud to report that truck drivers are statistically some of the best, most careful and responsible drivers on the road. We want to help you be on the good side of those statistics, and we can tell you’re going to do great. Any truckers that take their job and responsibilities seriously enough to read a blog on truck driver sleeping tips are bound to be considerate, safe, and successful truck drivers. If you want to come work with us at Eagle Logistics, just know we do everything we can to help our drivers be safe and responsible. That starts with treating people like family, such as giving our drivers guaranteed home time to relieve stress and new or newish trucks for the safest experience possible. Contact us if you would like to drive for a great company!