Sleep is important and the lack of sleep can have negative side effects, some especially dangerous to you as a professional driver. The lack of sleep can result in impaired reaction time, judgment, and vision. It can also cause you to have problems with information processing and short-term memory along with decreased performance, increased aggression, increased appetite and weakened immune system. There is more you can do to optimize your sleep schedule than just having a comfortable mattress/mattress topper and pillow.
Being a professional driver means you sleep whenever you can, whether it’s during the day or during the night. However, even the smallest amount of light can keep you awake. Investing in good curtains or shades can help keep the light out of your cab. Putting a sunshade over your windshield can help keep the light at a minimum. And if the light is still bothering you, a sleep mask can be a great help.
If it is possible, try to find a quiet place away from other loud trucks to park, however make sure that wherever you park is safe and secure. And if that is not possible, using ear plugs or a white noise machine can help block out the noise, just make sure you have an alarm that is loud enough to wake you up. You can also be woken up by your phone in the middle of the night so keep in mind that most phones have settings so that it only rings for certain contact calls at night, so you are less likely to be woken up by a text or phone call.
Phones And Other Screens:
Your phone can be very helpful to you as a professional driver, see our blog on helpful apps for drivers here, however the blue light that comes from your screen often decreases your ability to sleep restfully. There are apps and settings for most phones that can reduce the amount of exposure to blue light you can experience. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that you stop using electronic devices, like your cell phone and TV, for at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. Try to replace your screen time before bed with a non-digital activity like reading.
Keep your truck at a comfortable temperature for you. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that your sleeping area should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. When it is warmer outside having a small fan near your bed for extra air flow is a good idea and, in the winter, using heavier bedding or a small space heater can help keep you warmer.
Getting enough sleep is just as important as eating healthy and exercise. Taking care of yourself is not just beneficial for you, it is also safer for you and those around you while you are driving.