It is critical for our health to get a decent night’s sleep. In fact, during the last 25 years, it’s been one of the most researched health concerns. As we collect more data, we’re discovering additional ways that inadequate sleep negatively impacts health.
Sleep deprivation has a short-term impact on our mood, capacity to focus, and even motor skills. Weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, mood disorders, and shorter life expectancy have all been linked to long-term inconsistent sleep. With just the short-term sleep concerns, we can understand its importance to truck drivers. When we realize that this has been a long-standing problem for many drivers, we may be on the verge of a big crisis.
One of the most difficult issues long-haul truckers confront is getting enough good sleep on a regular basis. It’s no surprise, given erratic sleep schedules, noisy truck stops, uncomfortable mattresses, and an unhealthy lifestyle. So, as an industry, how can we assist our drivers in getting better sleep, thereby enhancing their health and safety? There are numerous strategies for drivers to enhance their sleep quality, but it helps if their employer supports them and provides additional tools.
Below are points where we can help our truck drivers sleep better:
1. Limit Caffeine Intake
Drivers should be encouraged to cut back or avoid caffeine, especially in the six hours before bedtime as these are the critical times for sleep to develop. Melatonin synthesis is inhibited by caffeine. So, even if you can fall asleep after a cup of coffee or a can of soda, your body won’t be able to reach the deeper and more restorative stages of sleep and won’t be able to stay asleep for a full night’s sleep if you don’t get enough melatonin. Caffeine intake should be limited to no more than 60 mg per day for drivers. Without coffee, eating nutritious meals and taking a high-quality multivitamin can help give your body the energy it requires.
2. Take Time to Stretch and Move More
One way to feel tired is for our bodies to have more movement. On this note, truck drivers should be coached or told to take time to stretch their bodies and move more. The more you exercise throughout the day, the more melatonin your body makes, which aids in getting deeper, more peaceful, and even longer sleep. The more you move and exercise, the better sleep you’ll receive, allowing your body to recuperate and replenish lost energy. Encourage drivers to stretch many times a day, go for walks whenever possible, and even squat up and down numerous times during the day. Encourage and teach them how to stay active on their days off.
3. Have Better Mattresses
Having comfortable sleeping quarters is a sure-fire way to improve the quality of sleep. One of the most common problems truck drivers always deal with is that the mattresses in truck sleepers are extremely uncomfortable and made with cheap, low-quality materials. In many observations, a 3- to 6-inch-thick memory foam pad or a higher-quality mattress will help you sleep better. Trucking businesses can provide these for drivers, offer either or both alternatives on a payment plan, or offer incentives for drivers to buy them on their own.
4. Listen to Music
Numerous studies have confirmed that music has been shown to improve sleep quality in persons with chronic or short-term sleep disorders in studies. Music can assist people in falling asleep faster, waking up less frequently during the night, and feeling better about their sleep in general. As you sleep, listen to soothing meditation music. Delta waves binaural sleep meditation, in particular, can be beneficial. The frequency of these waves aids in the brain’s ability to attain and maintain deeper levels of sleep, allowing you to wake up feeling more refreshed and alert. On YouTube, drivers can find a selection of this music.