Part of being a professional truck driver is learning how to sleep in a semi-truck. Figuring out how to sleep while your team partner is driving, or even just getting good rest while parked next to loud, idling semi-trucks, can be difficult.
If you’re struggling to get the CDC’s recommended seven-plus hours of sleep per night while you’re out on the road, check out these eight truck driver sleeping tips.
8 truck driver sleeping tips
1. Find a quiet, safe place to park.
Obviously, the best-case scenario is finding a parking space at a truck stop, rest stop or operating center that’s away from other loud trucks, but if that’s not possible or if you are a team truck driver …
2. Use foam ear plugs.
If you’re stuck between two reefer trucks or you’re trying to sleep while your partner is driving, you may struggle to fall asleep without a little help from ear plugs. Just make sure you have an alarm set that will be loud enough to wake you up, so you don’t oversleep.
3. Make your bed comfortable.
Getting proper sleep is important, so one of our top truck driver sleeping tips is to make your bed a place where you can get comfortable.
You can make the double or single bunk in your sleeper cab cozier by investing in a high-quality mattress topper, purchasing a sleeping bag or bed sheets that keep you warm, bringing your favorite blanket from home and using a great pillow.
4. Block out light.
If light bothers you when trying to sleep, do your best to block out as much of it as you can. If possible, put a sunshade cover on your windshield, close your curtains and truck shades and put on an eye mask.
This tip is especially important for truck drivers who drive at night and sleep during the day.
5. Avoid caffeine before bedtime.
A large soda or coffee may sound great after a long day of driving, but that extra boost of caffeine is the last thing your body needs before bed. According to the Sleep Foundation, it’s a good idea to quit consuming caffeine at least six hours before you want to go to sleep.
If you want something other than water, try decaf coffee, caffeine-free tea or flavored carbonated water.
6. Be careful about naps.
If you need to stop for a nap for safety reasons, then please do so. However, try limiting your nap to 30-45 minutes to take care of your fatigue without throwing off your circadian rhythm to the point it interferes with your longest stretch of sleep.
7. Find ways to de-stress.
Driving a truck can cause stress and going to bed feeling stressed can impact the quality of sleep you get. Do things you enjoy before shutting off the lights for the night.
Things like reading, working out, journaling, going for a short walk, watching an episode of your favorite TV show or exploring other common truck driver hobbies could all be ways you unwind after a day behind the wheel.
8. Follow a nighttime routine.
If possible, follow the same schedule every night right before you crawl into bed. This routine could include brushing your teeth, washing your face, changing into your pajamas and going to sleep around the same time each night. Doing this will signal to your brain that it’s time to go to sleep.
An extra piece of advice is to put your phone down before bed. The Cleveland Clinic recommends staying off your phone for an hour before you want to go to sleep to allow your brain time to wind down.