You dreamed of navigating the highways. You’re the king of the road out there on your eighteen wheels. You, literally, look down on everyone around you. But at the end of the day, when the clock runs out and your body winds down, it’s time for sleep. Science says you should sleep eight hours each night. While that doesn’t always happen, your body, and the lives of those around you, need you to be rested. What can you do to make the most of your down hours? Let’s take a look at 5 sleeping tips for long-haul truckers.
Before you Sleep.
Your sleep routine isn’t just about the 8(ish) hours of sleep time. Before you settle into bed for your rest time, limit your fluids (especially caffeine) and heavy or spicy foods for at least two hours before shut-eye.
Limit your cell phone and TV use before bed. Studies show that the blue light emitted from electronic devices can negatively impact your sleep.
Complete your routines before settling down. Finish up the day’s paperwork, get cleaned up and brush your teeth, and complete anything that needs to be done before you hit the road again so you won’t be rushed when you wake up.
A third of your life is spent sleeping, so enjoy it. Get a good mattress or a memory-foam mattress pad. They really make a difference in the level of comfort. Use quality bedding and a comfortable pillow. Don’t be afraid to value the quality of your bed and bedding. It can make all the difference between a good and mediocre sleep routine.
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It’s been my fortunate experience that bunks are well insulated from noise. But find a quiet place to park. The usual haunts like rest areas and travel centres are good, but get an app like TruckPark (Trucker’s Network members receive 10% off parking reservations) to find a lesser known and potentially quieter place to sleep. When possible, park away from loud running trucks and bask in seclusion.
When it’s not possible to find a quiet place or a reefer parks beside you just as you settle in for the night, consider using disposable foam ear plugs. They are affordable, comfortable, and effective.
If ear plugs give you concern that you’ll sleep through your alarm, use a white noise device, run a fan, or play a sleep podcast or playlist. I use a sleep podcast even when I’m cozied up at home in my own bed.
Thankfully, bunks are designed for sleep. Park away from direct lights if you sleep during the night. If you need to sleep during the day, keep the window covers on, close your dividing curtains, and consider using a sleep mask – it’s okay, no one will see you.
Say Good Night
You’ve found the unicorn of parking spaces, it’s quiet, youre comfortable, heartburn is under control (finally!), your’re settling in for sleep…DING! Let your loved ones know your going to sleep beforehand and turn on the Do Not Disturb feature on your cell phone. You love ‘em, but you need to sleep.
Rest easy driver. Then keep on truckin’.
Let us know some of sleeping tips for other long-haul truckers in the comments below!