Getting enough quality sleep while you’re doing long haul trucking isn’t just an essential for your health, it’s essential for your safety. According to a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) study, fatigue was the blame for 31 percent of fatal-to-the-driver crashes, making that the single largest factor in these deadly accidents. To avoid any possible risk of a fatigue related accident, here are the top tips for getting great sleep for truckers:
Find a safe, quiet place to park
Finding a great parking space is half the battle in getting great sleep, as loud noises or the feeling of being unsafe can be majorly disruptive to getting adequate rest. Try to avoid parking next to reefers or idling trucks, and ideally park on a level surface to prevent uncomfortable sleep positions in your cab.
Foam ear plugs
Foam ear plugs can be a drivers best friend when it comes to blocking out loud noises. It isn’t always possible to get away from loud trucks, refers or APU’s that can disrupt your slumber, so having ear plugs is the next best thing.
Stick to a routine
As the saying goes, early to bed, early to rise. Sticking to a sleep schedule helps regulate your body’s ability to get and stay asleep easily. Avoid caffeine during the latter half of the day and don’t eat heavy meals that might cause digestive issues towards the evening hours.Also try and avoid napping during daytime hours if you can, as it can mess with your circadian rhythm. If a nap is necessary, try and keep it to a maximum of 45 minutes so it doesn’t disturb your normal sleep routine.
Exercise is a great way to discharge energy after a long day of sitting and driving. Studies prove that moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (e.g., walking) reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and increased the length of sleep of people with chronic insomnia – so consider taking a quick stroll around the truck stop (or wherever you are parked) to help settle down for the evening.
Your rest will be as comfortable as your bed, so ensuring that you’ve got a mattress topper, good blanket and plenty of pillows is a must in getting great sleep. Your bed should feel like home, so you can fully relax and rest.
Now it’s your turn – where’s your favorite place to sleep when you’re on the road? How many hours of sleep do you get at night, and what’s your best advice for getting great rest on the road?