A Few Tips to Improve Driver Health and Maximize Sleep

We all know that sleeping enough is important for safe driving, but how much sleep can a tucker actually get? What can a trucker do to aid his or her energy levels?

The answer is: it depends. With the haziness of differing duties per load, truckers sometimes have to stay awake for a call on their radio and get the ok to pull up and unload, or they have to wait and watch the door for their freight to turn from red to green, and still, afterwards, they have to find a place to park, shower and eat. If all these things go according to plan, a trucker can lock in approximately 4-6 hours of sleep if they get lucky [1].

Beyond these stipulations on sleep there are a myriad of things that happen once he or she reaches the rest zone as stated by truckers on other websites such as: loud conversations, lot-lizards knocking on cabs, animals in other trailers making a fuss, steep inclines where drivers sometimes roll out of their beds, ‘trailer’ benders due to another driver backing into a parking spot next to a cab, the harsh sounds of sleet or rain tapping at the roof of the cab, and these are, of course, only some of the complications with sleep as a driver [2].

However many these complications, acceptance of them as a mode of life on the road is necessary to enjoy it.

So if good sleep (8-10 hours) isn’t a staple in this lifestyle, then what can driver’s do make up for their sleep deficit in their health? The truth is that there is no substitute for sleep, but there are ways to increase the time to get sleep.

Drivers can cut chunks of time of time to make time for more sleep for at least 30 more minutes. Not only can drivers cut time for sleep, but they can also improve their health in the process.

How to get more sleep and improve driver health:

1. Instead of purchasing food at a restaurant, purchase groceries and a small oven for the cab instead.

2. Limit the purpose of the truck stop.

3. Treat yourself.

Numbers 1 and 2 feed into each other. Limiting the purpose of the truck stop puts a top on the things one does there, hence, limits the time one spends there. Purposes for the truck stop often include: food, hygiene, fuel, and rest. If one limits the trucks stop purpose to fuel, hygiene, and rest while eliminating food, then one can save time almost daily. Keeping healthy or fresh food in the cab with deli meats, bread, fruits, vegetables, drinks, and dairy products can keep the digestive tract flowing gracefully. Now the first two tips won’t create record breaking results, but they will ease daily stresses until drivers have to stock up on groceries.

Number 3 is essential. Drivers work hard, and, truth be told, the economy needs them because, at the end of the day, drivers keep shelves stocked. Even though their recognition in the public does not do these gentlemen justice, drivers treating themselves with a solid or exotic meal will keep an emotional state from the dumps.

But what if I have no time to make it to the superstore?

Good question. The truth is that healthy options at trucks stops are oftentimes set aside in specific showcase areas or are tucked away in a fridge. Should there not be enough tasty healthy options, do not despair, sometimes a simple tuna salad (tuna + mayo + seasonings), bread, and cheese toasted up in the cab’s oven will make for a tasty meal. This situation may not increase time for sleep, but it can keep the body happy.

The easy part:

The good thing about the truck stops is that they have no limits on drink options. Hydration is key to healthy habits.

We all know that soft drinks are not the greatest options, and drivers especially know that drinking too much of any beverage on the road is definitely not an option, yet good hydration is as important to health as healthy eating since we die sooner without water than without food. The neat thing about hydration is you can take it in through solid foods such as watermelon, celery, cucumbers, strawberries, grapefruit [3]. And these items can often be found in cups at these stops. Moreover, flavored sparkling water drinks can make a great substitute for a limited intake of Mountain Dew or other highly caloric drinks.

Now you’re all set to start a regiment (: It doesn’t have to be rigid! Health habits can be as simple as snacking on unsalted nuts, fruits, vegetables, drinking water, and keeping fresh foods in the diet. This is a sure way to decrease the amount of duties per night per stop and increase your sleep.

Safe driving (:


[1] https://www.truckingtruth.com/trucking_blogs/Article-1766/the-sleep-cycle-of-a-truck-driver-it-doesnt-exist

[2] https://www.quora.com/As-a-trucker-how-is-it-sleeping-in-a-sleeper-cab

[3] https://www.ntbtrk.com/news/entry/hydration-tips-for-truck-drivers

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