Every trucker knows the importance of sleep and how not getting enough of it increases the risk of having a truck accident. However, there’s a world of difference between a night of tossing and turning and getting sound restful sleep. If you are having trouble getting your ZZZ’s on the road, follow these eight tips:
- Avoid eating large or spicy meals before you sleep. Indigestion is a common reason for insomnia. Small snacks are fine.
- Avoid exercise before bed time. Exercise elevates breathing, heart rate, and your metabolism. The body also releases hormones into your system that facilitate physical activity. Allow plenty of time for your body to wind down.
- Exercise during the day. A regular exercise routine induces consistent sleep patterns.
- Maintain a cool temperature. The ideal temperature for sleep is in the 60s.
- Make your truck sleeper as comfortable as possible. This amounts to making it as similar to your home bedroom as possible. Block out light by installing curtains or shades on the windows. If this isn’t enough, try an eye mask. Invest in a comfortable sleeping mattress. Psychological comfort helps as well. Bring familiar items from your bedroom at home with you.
- Stick to bedtime rituals. A consistent ritual of activities that don’t stimulate you, conditions your mind and body to fall asleep. Try eating a small snack, light reading from a real book or magazine (iPads and computers emit a type of light that interferes with sleep), or listening to soft music. The activity should relax you.
- Avoid noise or embrace it. If you find that white noise helps your sleep, then think of the traffic or truck idling sounds as white noise. Focus on it and allow yourself to drift away. Children are quite good at this since they have no control over their home environment. Alternatively, you can block sound out with a white noise generator of your own or by using comfortable earplugs.
- Avoid alcohol. While alcohol can make you feel drowsy and “knock you out,” it interferes with the restorative functions of sleep.