To operate efficiently on long-haul trips, OTR truck drivers need good quality sleep.
I don't mean the truck drivers who sleep in hotels or the truck drivers who sleep at home in their beds.
How do they achieve that comfortable sleeping in the sleeper cabs? How do truck drivers, who don't sleep at home for several weeks or months manage to get a good living in a sleeper cab?
Below are listed tips on how OTR truck drivers manage to sleep well in the truck and wake up alert and ready for the next long workday.
Is there a sleeping compartment in a semi-truck?
Today, most semi's are equipped with a sleeping compartment where drivers can rest and sleep after their workday.
These sleeping compartments are situated behind the driver's seat and their sleeper cab accessories provide them with enough comfort to rest. Some big sleeper trucks can accommodate double banks to allow each driver to have adequate sleep when their shift is over.
Tips for better sleeping in the sleeper cab
1. Find a quiet place to sleep
The trick is finding a quiet place where you can park the truck and spend your ten hours break. And the quiet place doesn't always have to be a truck stop or a rest area.
You can stop at rest areas or at truck stops alongside other trucks or if the shipper or the receiver allows you, you can stop at their company facilities. Or you may look for any place where you are allowed to park the truck.
And the quiet place doesn't always mean a truck stop or a rest area.
If you run a dedicated lane, after some time you may find some good places to sleep. You can stop and prepare your sheets, blankets, and pillows to get comfortable on your mattress.
If you run solo then it's easier because you don't have to sleep while the truck is rolling.
- Use noise control
In case you stop at a rest area, you'll hear highway traffic, other trucks starting up, and a horn or two. If these types of noises are waking you up you may want to use white noise or the noise of rainfall.
If you use a noise system, make sure to set the alarm levels louder so that you can wake up at the right time.
2. Buy a good mattress
For the best comfort during sleep, you need a good-quality mattress.
The sleeper mattress provided by the company is no good?
It probably was good when it was new. But, since many company truck drivers, of different sizes and weights, have slept on that mattress before you, it might have lost its quality and comfort. That's why you might want to purchase your personal mattress.
Also, if you are driving for a week only in a truck, it makes no sense of buying a mattress. But, if you spend weeks or months on the road, you should replace the mattress from the company with a brand new memory foam mattress.
3. Block out light
When you sleep, even the smallest amount of light coming through the sleeper cab's window can bother your sleep.
Your sleep can be disturbed by the street lights or by the headlights of the running trucks.
But what if your off-duty time comes on during the day or in the afternoon before the sun sets?
The daylight can be a disturbing factor if you try to fall asleep during the day.
In these cases, shades or blackout curtains may block out the natural daylight providing a dark sleeping ambiance inside the sleeper cabin.
4. The use of APU unit for AC and heating
An APU, which stands for Auxiliary Power Unit, is a very useful unit in any sleeper cab.
It is a small motor producing power that keeps the appliances inside the sleeper cab running without keeping the truck's engine on. The provided power is enough to keep the A/C, the refrigerator, the microwave, the coffee pot running, charge the batteries, and many more.
For the topic of this article, the APU can provide power to run the sleeper cab A/C, which is an important option on extreme ends of weather.
For cold weather, you can have heat but at the same time, you can pack extra blankets to keep you warm at night.
On hot nights, you can rely on air conditioning to cool down the sleeper cab.
By having both cooling and heating options, you can find the most comfortable settings for your sleep needs.
5. Customize the sleeper cab for your best sleeping comfort
The modern sleeper cabs provide truck drivers with many things that improve their comfort.
Today, sleeper cabs have fan controls and lights controls. They have audio, video, and entertainment systems. And they have a microwave, a coffee maker, a mini-fridge. They have a small wardrobe and different storage places.
Basically, a truck driver may customize his sleeper cab in such a way that he can live in a real home.
6. Equip the sleeper cab with a portable toilet
Sometimes, during the night, you wake up because of nature's call.
Having a portable toilet inside the sleeper cab makes it so comfortable. You can wake up at night and do that inside the truck without having to a public bathroom at a truck stop.
This is how truck drivers sleep in sleeper cabs
A good sleep is just as important as healthy nutrition and exercise.
To be an efficient truck driver you have to be alert on the road. At the same time, good rest prevents bad phycological moods and unhealthy habits such as overeating.
Combine the white noise, block out the light, and purchase a mattress and you'll enjoy your sleep in the sleeper cabin more than sleeping in your home bed.