Having a consistent sleep schedule is essential for our health. We also know that lack of sleep can affect our motor skills, ability to focus, and even our mood. A proper night’s rest can be difficult for professional long-haul truck drivers due to a number of reasons. How can we make sure drivers are getting enough sleep to improve their health and safety?
Here are a few tips that are pretty simple to implement and definitely worth a try:
If your mattress is just not holding up anymore, it’s time to upgrade to something that won’t leave you with a backache in the morning. You can also invest in a comfy mattress pad to provide more cushion and reduce pressure points.
Check and see if your trucking company will provide a 3 - 6-inch memory foam type mattress. Another alternative is a payment plan!
Where you sleep matters
A good sleep environment is sure to improve sleep quality. This will vary according to your schedule, but some things to keep in mind are:
- Safety: a location that balances quiet and your personal safety.
- Block out light: get some curtains or wear an eye mask to bed.
- Block out noise: use earplugs or a “white noise” machine to block out excess noise. You can even download apps on your phone that provide this type of service to help you sleep better. Don’t forget to silence your phone!
- Cool temperature: if possible, keep your truck’s temperature on the cooler side or adjust to what is most comfortable for you.
Although trucking is unpredictable sometimes, try to stick to a bedtime routine. Whether it’s reading for 30 minutes before bed or listening to an audiobook, keep a familiar routine to give you the best chance of getting a good night’s rest.
Another thing to keep in mind is not making a habit of switching between day and night shifts unless it is absolutely necessary!
It’s fine to drink coffee or energy drinks at the very start of your day, however, it is best to avoid them completely during the six hours before going to sleep. Caffeine stops the production of melatonin, which can affect your body’s ability to reach a deeper and more restorative state of sleep.
Healthier meals and multi-vitamins give your body the energy it needs without too much caffeine intake.
Movement or exercise
The more you move or exercise throughout the day, the more melatonin your body produces! If you haven’t considered developing a fitness routine yet to help with sleep issues, you should. Stretching several times a day and even incorporating minimal workouts will help you stay asleep longer.
Everyone has different underlying issues to poor sleep, but identifying them and correcting them will be very beneficial for you.