When you’re a kid, your 2 least favorite words are “it’s bedtime”.
When you’re an adult, it’s almost the complete opposite. By the time you turn 18, bedtime isn’t just your favorite time of day, it’s holy.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m exhausted, there isn’t much I won’t do for a few extra hours of shut-eye, especially during a busy week.
However, when you’re a trucker on the road, a night of sleep is more important than just maintaining your wellbeing.
In extreme cases, it can be the difference between life and death.
Here are 5 easy ways to make sure you get enough sleep when you’re on the road:
1. Use an eye mask (or just block out all the light you can).
If you’ve ever traveled to the Arctic Circle or seen the movie Insomnia, you’ve seen the profound effects that a 24 a seemingly endless day can have on your sleep cycle.
When you spend more time in daylight, it’s harder to fall asleep. Your brain is wired to stay awake when it’s light out. You’re a person, you’re not nocturnal.
If you can’t sleep during normal sleep hours (when it’s dark out), you have to find another way to recreate the darkness that will help you sleep.
You can do this through an eye mask, sleeping in a dark room, or just by using your truck shades.
3. Stop checking your phone before bed.
You’ve probably heard this before, but as a tucker, it’s especially important to limit your screen exposure before bed.
This is because blue light has properties that stimulate the brain’s attention spans and reaction times. This is great for doing work on a computer, but not so great for trying to count sheep.
You’re already changing time zones, trying to sleep in unfamiliar environments, and might be consuming more caffeine than you want to admit. The worst thing that you can do is add another stressor to your brain that will make sleeping that much harder.
Truckers and CDL drivers already have to deal with the eye strain that comes from working on the road all day, don’t make blue light another one of your problems.
4. Find a cold place to sleep.
The best bedroom temperature for sleep is about 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
When you begin to sleep, your body temperature goes down. Obviously, you can be too cold while you’re sleeping, but in general, a little cooler is better.
Knowing this is really important because it gives you the ability to create a sleep environment that your brain and body will find relaxing for knocking out at the end of a long day.
Trucking creates a lot of different stressors, but by knowing your optimal sleep environment, you’ll be able to navigate a lot of these variables and still manage to get optimal sleep to do your job well.
5. Decrease your daily stress levels.
We’ve talked quite a bit on this blog about how drivers can manage their mental health while working, and mental health works very closely with sleep.
Practicing mindfulness, scheduling breaks throughout the day/week/year, eating healthfully, and following all of the other routines that we encourage drivers to follow while they work is very important for helping train the circadian rhythm make falling asleep at night easier.
If you’re going to do this job, you need to be an advocate for your own health, and sleep is perhaps the most important part of that.
Sleep-deprived driving is worse than drunk driving.
Don’t drive drunk. Don’t drive high. Don’t drive drowsy.
If you’re a CDL driver, your mental health is one of the most important parts of your job because it affects your ability to not only deliver products but also to protect yourself.
Avoiding burnout and getting as much sleep per night as possible is essential to maintaining your health while working in this industry with an incredibly high burnout rate.
As a new driver, it can feel like the world is out to get you. Don’t make it worse by forgetting to take care of yourself.
If you’d like to join our constantly expanding, award-winning team, check out our current job openings.