It’s a well-known fact, and trope, that you’ve gotta get those 8 hours a night in order to be a fully-functioning, not-miserable person the next day. It’s also a well-known fact that many of us don’t, or literally can’t, manage to squeeze 8 hours of our 24 to get that time in.
Of all sectors of industry, our long-haul truck drivers are some of the most sleep-deprived people in the country. And considering they’re low-key the backbone of our national supply and distribution structure, shouldn’t it be kind of important for them to sleep well?
Driving all day every day, sleeping in strange places in short hours – they deserve better. Plus, if every driver consistently got a good night’s sleep in their truck cabs, the roads would be safer for them and for us.
Scary Stats on Sleep Deprivation during a Long-Haul
Because our freight truck drivers drive supply routes all over the country, they’re a common sight on every highway, and even some narrow state roads where there are no other options. And semi-trucks are huge, so when things go wrong, the consequences are anywhere from serious to horrific. To put it into hard facts:
These drowsy driving semi accidents account for more than 40,000 injuries and 15,000 deaths.
In accidents between a freight truck and a passenger vehicle, 98% of deaths are those in the passenger vehicle.
Someone who has been awake for 17 hours exhibits driving capabilities consistent with some who has a blood alcohol level of .50 in some cases. That means they’re impaired at the equivalent of 7x the legal limit of alcohol.
Long-haul drivers average less than 5 hours of sleep per night with lower-than-average deep sleep cycles.
When drivers nap, they average 15-25 minutes, and it tends not to add any restorative sleep.
In order to keep up with their difficult deadlines, over 95% of truck drivers habitually use caffeine, and more than 10% use amphetamines.
The majority of commercial truck-related accidents and near misses happen from 12-2am, 4-6am, and 2-4pm.
Perhaps most scary of all is that in a study of truck driver’s sleep length and quality, some drivers registered brain waves that match Stage 1 sleep while driving their rig.
The Problem with the Standard Truck Beds in Sleeping Cabs
There are a few things wrong with truck cabs, and we can’t manage all of them, but we can get pretty close. The obvious biggie in your ability to really rest in your semi’s bed is the mattress. And just like RV mattresses, every truck driver knows the bed that came standard with their cab is not a real bed. Is it a dorm mattress? A camping pad? Cushion? Who knows. But it’s definitely not helping your muscles and joints, or that crick in your back.
The problem with finding the right mattress to replace the one in your cab bed is you’re likely not going to find one in stores. Beds in commercial trucks are sometimes twin, twin XL, or short queen, but other times they’re even more obscure than a short queen and require specific custom measurements to fit he cab bed correctly. Now, you can get these from your truck’s manufacturer, but they’ll likely just be replacement mattresses of the same quality.
But getting a super-comfy, durable, custom foam mattress for your truck’s bed is actually really easy – you can design it and order it on today’s break, just like that. And then next time you’re on leave at home, it’ll show up right at your house. Unbox, slip into your truck’s bed platform, and use that nasty old mattress pad as kindling. Just kidding – burning mattresses creates toxic fumes. Still, you could do something fun like use it for target practice or as a somersault pad in the kids’ playroom.
A custom-made mattress with matching bedding is going to revolutionize your sleep game while you’re on the road. A comfy, supportive mattress can make a restless sleeper still, stiff joints loose, and sore backs relaxed. It helps your body rest so it can recover from long days of driving, because, let’s be honest, sitting in the same spot for 16 hours isn’t exactly great for your posture.
Solutions to Make Your Truck’s Bedroom Restful & Restorative
You can do a few simple things to complement the custom replacement mattress in your truck’s bedroom, and they’re all about keeping light and sound away. Freight truck drivers are often sleeping in different and unorthodox places, and something they’re even asleep during the day. It’s just a reality of the job, but the more you can do to signal your body’s circadian rhythm at the right times, the more benefits you’ll be able to reap from your new semi-truck mattress:
Make sure your sleep setup in your semi is light-proof. Blackout curtains everywhere and covers for any digital displays that might be on at night. And an eye mask couldn’t hurt.
Control the noise you’re exposed to. Truck cabs, sadly, are anything but sound proof. But you can invest in some legit noise-cancelling earbuds. Or, add more noise, but the right kind. A white, pink or brown noise machine can drown out those irregular sounds that would normally wake you up, and it helps your body move into sleep stages more smoothly.
Stop drinking so much liquid in the evenings.
Limit caffeine and other stimulants like nicotine at least 5 hours before you go to bed.
Try a melatonin supplement.
Don’t eat heavy meals within 2 hours of bedtime.
Have a normalized bedtime routine – it’ll eventually start to signal your body’s systems that it’s time to go to sleep.
Turn your phone on Do Not Disturb for your sleep hours. Your boss can wait – you’re on break.
Our commercial drivers are a vital part of our economy, and more than anyone, they deserve a place to sleep that’s isolated, comfortable and restful. Consider starting your journey towards better sleep on the road; design the perfect custom mattress for your truck bed and get bespoke bedding made to match.