With the arrival of the holidays, truck drivers are faced with increased workloads and longer hours. Due to this, sleep can further fall to the back-burner. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the loss of sleep can contribute to 30 to 40 percent of all highway collisions. Sleep deprivation is constantly ranked as a top concern for both truck drivers and safety administrations. This holiday season, help keep the road safe with these important tips from Gray Transportation.
- Treat Caffeine with Care
Although a day driving can seem impossible without assistance from caffeine, the stimulate is not a cure all. According to the Sleep Education foundation, caffeine not only makes it difficult to go to sleep but it delays your body’s internal timing. This reduces your total sleep time and limits the amount of deep sleep your body enjoys. To combat this, you don’t need to give up caffeine completely. Instead, try to practice moderation. Limit your intake to no more than 300 to 400 milligrams a day which equals about 3 to 4 cups of coffee (8 oz.).
- Stop Smoking
Cigarettes contain the stimulus nicotine, which can disrupt your sleeping schedule. A study from the University of Florida found that for each cigarette a person smoked, they lost 1.2 minutes of sleep due to the nicotine’s stimulating withdrawal effects. Smokers also wake more frequently during the night and feel more restless in the morning. Even more alarmingly, smokers are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea as the act of inhaling smoke irritates the tissue in the nose and throat, causing swelling.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
About 65% of Americans are now overweight or obese and the condition is particularly damaging to truck drivers. As fast food restaurants and gas stations are often the only choice on long stretches of highway, it can be challenging to practice healthy eating habits. However, this can lead to complications. Not only does obesity lead to an increased risk of sleep apnea, but getting too little sleep actually helps cause weight gain as well. To fight this vicious cycle, make realistic changes to your diet. Switch from soda to water. To limit snacking during the day, avoid skipping breakfast. Even fast food restaurants now have healthier options, so trade in the bacon cheeseburger for a salad with grilled chicken. Also, don’t be wary of preparing your own food on the road. By using crock pots, you can control the ingredients you use, and have leftovers for the rest of the week.
The holidays mean increased time on the road which can come with potential risk of sleep deprivation. By using these tips, you can improve your sleep quality and increase road safety for yourself and your fellow drivers.
At Gray’s Transportation, our driver’s safety is always our number one concern. Find out more about joining our team today.