You know the challenges truckers have to face to get a good night’s sleep better than anyone. Long, late hours on the road lead to sporadic and irregular sleep schedules, not to mention awful sleeping environments when you finally do get a chance to pull over and catch some Z’s. Despite these difficulties, we know that getting enough rest is crucial for driver safety, alertness, and overall health. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best strategies and practices for getting a better sleep on the road!
1. Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment
When it comes to getting a good night’s rest, few things are as relevant as the comfort of your space. Sleeping in your truck adds a whole slew of factors impacting the quality of your snooze that you just don’t think about when you’re at home, but can be the difference between a night of tossing and turning and a well-rested morning.
First, we recommend investing in a quality mattress and bedding for your sleeper cab. Some other good ideas include curtains or shades to keep that early morning sun out of your eyes, and a fan or portable heater to maintain a comfortable sleeping temperature. It’s also important to ensure that your cab has proper ventilation to avoid stuffiness.
2. Use Relaxation Techniques
Wind-down rituals can be a great way to get your body prepared for sleep. We’re not talking witchcraft here–simply listening to some soothing music, reading a few pages of a book, or journaling before bedtime can do wonders towards slowing down your brain before it’s lights out.
This doesn’t have to be time-consuming or overly complicated, but it goes a long way.
Of course, we know how tempting a little Netflix before bed can be, especially when you’re out on the road alone, so we don’t blame you if you’re inclined to skip this one. Just something to keep in mind!
A good strategy may be to first determine how much caffeine you can consume daily, and when you can consume it, without experiencing negative effects like insomnia or jitters. Then set a limit for yourself in order to ensure that you can stay alert on the road while also avoiding problems falling asleep when it’s time to do so.
5. Use White Noise
White noise played from a machine or from your phone with noise-canceling headphones can be a great way to create a peaceful environment that makes it easy to fall asleep. Even better, this strategy can be used to drown out the distracting highway and rest stop commotion that is often unavoidable on the road.
6. Locate Safe and Quiet Rest Stops
If you have the time, it’s usually well worth it to plan ahead and identify some ideal pit stops along your route. Ensuring that you’re in a safe, secure, and ideally quiet location will give you the peace of mind you need to fall asleep effortlessly.
There’s nothing worse than trying to shrug off an eerie feeling as you attempt to fall asleep in that sketchy gas station parking lot in the middle of nowhere!
7. Be Cautious With Sleep Aids
Sleep aids are a complicated but sometimes necessary solution. Besides the possibility of becoming overly dependent on them, next-day side effects like dizziness and impaired focus can pose a safety issue if you need to operate your vehicle soon after waking up.
It’s best to first try implementing some of the other practices recommended here, and use sleep aids and medications only after consulting a doctor and as a last resort.
All in all, it’s important to remember that a good night’s sleep isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. The road to better sleep starts with preparation, planning, and a commitment to your own well-being. Implement some of these strategies on your next haul, and make every mile driven a well-rested one. Your safety and the safety of other drivers depends on it!