When you’re on the road, sleep may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, if you drive for a living, you know that not getting enough sleep is a major concern and one of the biggest on-the-job hazards you face.
Sleep Plays a Critical Role on the Road
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009 truck drivers experienced 16.8% of all transportation-related fatalities and 2.04% of the nonfatal injuries requiring days away from work, even though they only made up 1.0% of the U.S. workforce.
Good sleep is as important as proper nutrition and exercise. Your body is busy during sleep, repairing wear and tear and getting you in shape for a new day. Without enough sleep, you might experience:
- Slower reactions, a cloudy mind, or a bad mood
- Weakening of body defenses, increasing your risk for infections, high blood pressure, and diabetes
- Increased appetite, over eating, and obesity
Creating a Sleep-Conducive Environment
Because a trucker’s 24/7 job keeps him or her on the road for long periods and at night, it can affect sleep quality and quantity. A good sleep environment improves sleep quality. Your sleep environment may depend on your schedule, but you can improve your sleep environment on the road or at home.
- Keep safety in mind: Park with a balance of quiet and safety in mind.
- Block out all light: Close all curtains and truck shades, or use an eye mask.
- Block out noise: Use earplugs or a “white noise” machine like a fan to block out noises. Silence phones and assign an audible ringtone to important contacts to minimize distractions.
- Keep your cab or bedroom temperature cool: People’s temperature preferences vary, so keep your room temperature comfortable for you.
- Get comfortable: You spend one third of your life in bed, so use a comfortable mattress and pillow. Consider upgrading or replacing the mattress in your sleeper if it is old or uncomfortable.
For the full document, including tips on preparing for improved sleep, what to avoid before bedtime, and resources on diagnosing a sleep disorder; download the Quick Sleep Tips for Truck Drivers from the CDC.
If you are looking for more information on the importance of sleep and more tips on improving your sleep, we have put together an article on improving sleep. Further, we provide information you need to de-stress in order to get better sleep.
As a DOT and FMCSA compliant provider of pre-employment testing, injury care, and occupational health services, Nova Medical Centers hopes that this information will help you to get better sleep on the road. If you need occupational health services for your company, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.