Driving a truck is a demanding, stressful job, and we all know it is more essential now than ever for drivers to be on the road delivering goods.
In my next few articles, I am going to cover key steps on how to stay healthy while on the road. Quality sleep, proper nutrition, exercise and personal hygiene make up the all-important combination that will give you the fuel to conquer the day ahead.
Getting quality, restful sleep is a challenge for us all, and especially for professional drivers.
As you get later into your workday, steer clear of coffee, which can cause sleep disturbances. I enjoy coffee too — but remember that it can affect your body for five hours or longer after consumption. Plan your coffee intake so that it does not prevent you from getting good sleep.
As your shift is coming to an end, make sure to prepare your mind and body for a good night’s sleep. For two to three hours before bedtime, avoid heavy or spicy meals, and halt your intake of caffeine drinks. In addition, avoid nicotine and other stimulants. Prolonged exposure to light from electronics and television just before bedtime may also disturb your sleep.
Now you need to find a safe spot, without constant disturbances, to park your rig. With your rig settled in, make sure your sleeper is “Bunk Ready Fit.” Close all curtains and truck shades. Use eye masks and ear plugs, if needed. Block out any unavoidable disturbances by using a fan or “white noise” machine. Silence your phone. Assign a unique, audible ringtone to important contacts to minimize unwanted distractions. This will help throughout the day, too.
Studies have shown that a cooler bedroom temperature is more conducive to a good night’s sleep. Find your room-temperature “sweet spot.” We spend about a third of our life in bed, and you need to make sure you get the same quality of rest when you are on the road as you do at home.
Make sure you are placing your most valuable assets — your head and body — on premium products. Find the pillow that is best for you, and stick with it. You might also consider replacing and upgrading that mattress that came with your rig. I would suggest checking out www.thebigrig
mattress.com. The Big Rig Mattress is designed for the road by a mattress engineer who has been behind the wheel.
These are all key points for the first stage in getting healthy and staying healthy on the road.
Our environment has changed. Now, more than ever, we must make adjustments to maintain our livelihood by taking care of our health. Step 1 is getting the best, restful, restorative sleep possible. Be on the lookout for a discussion about Step 2 — exercise — next time. We all need exercise, and we all benefit from it.
Bob Perry has spent nearly the past four decades on a mission to educate professional drivers and share life-changing products and services to help them live healthier lives while on the road. Recognized throughout the transportation industry, from bus drivers to over-the-road professional drivers, Bob Perry has played an important role in creating a paradigm shift helping regulatory agencies, private and public sector entities, and consumers understand the current health challenges of the professional driver. He has participated as a wellness advocate in several roundtable discussions, large audience groups and small forums as well as going “curbside” through a national truck stop tour.
Bob’s articles have been featured in The Trucker and a number of other national transportation industry publications and is the host of a weekly wellness call produced by Rolling Strong. Bob has been a regular guest on RedEye Radio and Land-Line Radio, and is often an invited guest on Sirius radio shows. He has been featured in the New York Times, Men’s Health Magazine, Drug Store News, American Road Magazine, WSJ, NPR, ABC National Radio, as well as hundreds of daily newspapers. He has appeared on television news shows across the nation, including a featured TV segment on ABC NightLine News.