How to Sleep Better in a Sleeper Truck?
The American truck industry is consistently on the rise. 70% of goods and materials reached their destination through sleeper trucks. But they’re more notorious for road mishaps. 74% of fatal road accidents involved them. Most truck accidents are linked with drowsy driving. Thus, drivers need to get quality sleep. Here are some tips on how to sleep better in a sleeper truck.
Sleeper Truck Driving Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the number of hours a truck driver must work. This is for the promotion of their health and safety. Such regulations were enforced to benefit drivers, operators, and others on the road. Sleeper truck drivers commonly travel from state to state. So, they’re covered by the federal hours of service laws.
Among these regulations are:
- Sleeper truck drivers are only allowed to work for 60 hours over seven consecutive days or 70 hours for every eight days. They need to be off-duty for 34 hours before going back to work.
- Sleeper truck drivers need to take a rest for 10 hours after a 14 hours duty daily. They can only drive for 11 hours during that day. They should have a mandatory 30 minutes break after 8 hours of duty. And the 14 hours of duty should not include breaks, fuel stops, and meals.
During adverse weather conditions, the driving hours of sleeper truck drivers can be extended up to 2 hours. In case these rules are violated, the state and local government will impose a fine ranging from $1,000 to $11,000 per violation. The driver may be shut down at the roadside until he completed the required off-duty time. The carrier safety rating may also be downgraded due to the violation.
Ways to Make Sleeper Berths More Comfortable
Sleeper berths aren’t the coziest place to get a good night’s sleep. But there are some ways sleeper truck drivers can do to make them comfortable.
Block Out Light
The biggest obstruction to getting a better sleep among sleeper truck drivers is the light outside the truck. The best way to avoid this kind of obstruction is to put blackout curtains. They can hinder the lights coming inside the sleeper cab. You may also consider using a sleeping mask to further lessen the light.
Noise from the highway can also disrupt good sleep. Sleeper truck drivers should invest in noise-canceling headphones or noise-canceling machines. They drown out the noise from outside the truck. Even an ordinary earplug can help. It allows you to get a full eight hours of sleep without being bothered by traffic noise.
Use a mattress
Comfort is one of the most important factors in getting better sleep. Sleeper truck drivers should buy a mattress that fits one’s sleeping habit. Air beds use air-filled chambers to make you feel floating while sleeping. They relieve backache and body pains due to long hours of driving. They’re ideal for drivers who sleep on their stomachs. Memory foam mattresses use foams that fold based on your body contour. They further relieve pains and pressure points. They’re perfect for drivers who make lots of movements while sleeping. If a driver commonly sleeps on the side, an innerspring mattress should be the choice. Their coil springs provide a firmer hold.
For many sleeper truck drivers, getting rid of waste is a challenge. Empty bottles, food containers, and snack wrappers may pile up during busy driving hours. They may take up significant space on your sleeper cab. We suggest cleaning them out every day. Every time the sleeper truck stops, look for trash cans where you can dispose of the waste. It’ll make your sleeper cab cleaner and neater. A clear space promotes better sleep than a cluttered room.
Get an Ergonomic Seat
One thing a sleeper truck driver often forgets is getting a driver seat that prevents fatigue. A comfortable seat lessens body aches and pains. There are many types of ergonomic seats available in the market right now. A small investment in such a kind of seat can mean a lot of health benefits. You’ll be comfortable enough to get better sleep.
Tips on How to Sleep Better in a Sleeper Truck
If you drive a sleeper truck for a living, here are some tips on how to sleep better on a sleeper truck. They can benefit both your health and your job.
- Increase your exposure to bright light during the day. Our bodies have built-in time clocks known as the circadian rhythm. Exposure to sunlight improves our daytime energy. As such, it signals better sleep once the sun is down. Sleeper truck drivers can take short exposure to sunlight after a meal stop or short break.
- Reduce exposure to blue lights 2 hours before sleeping. Gadgets, smartphones, and televisions emit a large number of blue lights. Blue lights trick the brain that it’s daytime causing one not to be sleepy. We recommend avoiding the use of these devices two hours before you sleep. Listening to soft music or reading a book can be a substitute screen time to help you get better sleep.
- Avoid consuming caffeine after 4 PM. A single dose of caffeine gives your body energy and performance for around 6 to 8 hours. Taking it later in the day can stop your body to relax during nighttime. This results in poor sleep quality.
- Avoid drinking alcohol at night. Most sleeper truck drivers thought that a couple of alcohol shots at night can promote better sleep. This belief is wrong. Alcohol eliminates the production of melatonin – the body’s sleeping hormones – which is why they are medically proven to cause sleep apnea and disrupt sleeping patterns.
- Eat low-carbs during dinner. Carbohydrates promote the production of insulin and triglycerides. It’s best to avoid them during dinner because they make the body cells active. When our body cells are active, it will be hard for us to get to sleep.
- Last, a foot bath or warm shower can relax the body after a tiring drive. You can have one after dinner to get better sleep.
Truck driving is indeed tiring but hard work pays off at the end of the day. Just remember to always look out for your health so you can hit more miles for as long as you like. You deserve a good night’s sleep, as much as your truck, to replenish your energy and to avoid total breakdown.
Looking for a bigger sleeper truck or a new unit to join your fleet? Check out UsedVending’s listing of sleeper cabs here. We have a huge selection of branded trucks, from Freightliner and Kenworth to Peterbilt trucks and more.