Having trouble shaking off the cobwebs when starting your day? Trucking can take a toll on your physical, mental and emotional health, and a lot of truck drivers fight that sluggish feeling almost daily.
There a variety of causes for driver fatigue, but you can put yourself in the best position to feel awake and alert by focusing on these 5 areas.
1. Lack of sleep
Most people need 7 to 9 hours of sleep to be able to perform at their highest level. One problem with trucking is that it can be hard to get the optimal amount of sleep. At the very least, try to get no less than 6 hours of sleep.
According to Shawn Stevenson's book Sleep Smarter, you get the most rejuvenating sleep during the hours of 10 PM and 2 AM, which he calls "money time."
You may be feeling sluggish due to dehydration. When you don't get enough water in your body, your cells pull water out of your bloodstream. When this happens, your blood thickens and causes your brain and heart to not work efficiently, making you feel sluggish.
There is a simple formula to determine how much water you should drink on a daily basis. Take your weight and divide it by two. That will equal the minimum number of ounces of water you should be drinking each day. If you weigh 200 pounds, you should be aiming to drink 100 ounces every day.
3. Sugary breakfasts
You probably know that sugar is not the greatest thing for your body, but consuming high amounts of sugar to start your day is even worse. This starts your day on a short energy high followed by a dramatic crash that causes you to feel sleepy.
Instead, you should eat something that is high in protein for breakfast and avoid the sugar. According to Wired, studies show that protein-rich breakfasts improved cognitive performance.
4. Zoning out
When you are driving for long hours at a time, it can be easy to zone out and for your brain to get bored. Try listening to some podcasts or radio shows that talk about things you are interested in learning more about. This will keep your brain active and you will feel better while you are on the road.
5. No healthy snack options
A lot of drivers fall into the trap of eating three times a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. You start to get hungry in those times between meals, which causes you to make unhealthy choices and eat more. To avoid doing that, you need to prepare healthy snacks to eat between meals. Try eating some snacks like nuts, avocados, veggies, fruits, etc. These will give you some needed healthy fats and keep you from food cravings.
This post comes from our partners at the American Association of Owner Operators.
The American Association of Owner Operators is a nationwide association created to benefit professional truckers and small fleet owners.