How Do I Improve My Sleep on the Road?
The idea of “sleeping in” to get better sleep is hardly a matter for truck drivers.
That’s all they do – while they’re on the road for the long haul: Sleep in the truck or in a motel.
“Sleeping in” is not necessarily a recipe for good snoozing.
We at iGlobal LLC believe it’s important for truck drivers to be well rested – despite the challenges the open road may pose.
According to RollingStrong.com, a website geared to driver health and safety, many truck drivers may be afflicted with an often overlooked and undiagnosed disorder: sleep apnea. In fact, more than 20 million Americans fall into this category – suffering from a sleep disorder that can be easily remedied with proper treatment.
RollingStrong states that accident rates among undiagnosed and untreated drivers are seven times higher than among others. Eighty percent of cases of depression are linked to sleep disorders and at least 50 percent of heart attack victims have suffered from obstructive sleep apneas.
Risks include: Being overweight, large neck sizes (greater than 17 inches in men and 16 inches in women), a family history of the disorder, and smoking and alcohol use.
Symptoms include: Loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, disrupted sleep and morning headaches.
RollingStrong recommends several simple steps to help improve your sleep quality and help prevent potential disorders:
- Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time.
- Get regular exercise.
- Get some sunlight.
- Keep your bedroom temperature comfortable and your bedroom quiet and dark.
- Take your medications as prescribed.
- Keep your feet and hands warm.
Here is what you should not do:
- Don’t exercise in the evening or before going to bed.
- Don’t play games or watch action shows or movies before bed.
- Don’t have anything with caffeine in the evening. That includes coffee, tea, chocolate or soda.
- Don’t have an important or weighty talk before sleep time.
- Don’t use alcohol before bed. It won’t help you get a good night’s sleep.
- Don’t go to bed hungry or full.
- Don’t take someone else’s medications or sleeping pills.
- Don’t take over-the-counter sleeping pills without first consulting your doctor. You can develop a tolerance.
- No daytime napping.
- Don’t order yourself to go to sleep. This just makes you more alert. If you’re still awake after 30 minutes, go to another room and do something boring. Then go back to bed when you’re sleepy.
Health.org advises people who think they have sleep apnea to consult with their doctor. The website provides a self test – http://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/sleep-apnea.htm – to help you gauge your symptoms.
Treatments may include changes to your lifestyle and health habits, or the use of a Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure (CPAP) for moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea.
We hope you found these tips helpful. In next week’s article, we will discuss some simple tips truck drivers can use to ensure they get quality sleep.
iGlobal LLC is a technology company which specializes in providing solutions for transportation, logistics and distribution industries. We build hardware and develop software that resolves critical business dilemmas, especially those involving fleet management and communication technologies.