Truck driver sitting in cabin giving thumbs-upDid you know that the average American trucker spends approximately 300 days on the road each year?

Long-haul trips are part of the trucking lifestyle, but when you aren’t able to come home and sleep in your own bed, it can be challenging to get a good night’s rest. Even if your rig has a spacious sleeper berth, it takes time to adjust.

If you’re tired of tossing and turning, here are a couple of tips to make crashing in your semi more comfortable:

1) Eliminate all light pollution. Before you turn in for the night, make sure there’s no way for light to infiltrate your cabin or sleeper berth. Put screens over all of the windows (including your windshield) and fill any cracks with towels or sweatshirts. If you’re stuck at a truck stop or gas station that’s covered in floodlights, don’t be afraid to wear a sleep mask. It’s also a good idea to keep your smartphone, tablet or computer out of the bed. When you’re exposed to blue light, your brain stops releasing melatonin, a hormone that helps you wind down for sleep.

2) Wear earplugs. On long-haul trips, you can’t always pick a quiet, secluded area to pull over in. Sometimes, you’re stuck at a major truck stop, rest area or gas station. Most of these facilities are open 24/7, which is great, but it also means they’re very noisy. Hearing trucks idle all night isn’t a recipe for a good night’s sleep. Instead of tossing and turning, pop some earplugs in. You can even buy sound-dampening curtains to hang inside your semi’s cab.

3) Avoid caffeine at least three hours before bed. Caffeine is a trucker’s best friend. A cup of coffee or a bottle of soda can make long stretches of highway more bearable. Even so, it’s important to avoid consuming caffeine at least three hours before you turn in for the night. This rule applies to over-the-counter medications like No-Doz, too.

4) Change out of your work clothes. When you’ve spent all day on the road, changing into something more comfortable might seem like a hassle, but it’s absolutely worth it. There’s a reason pajamas aren’t made out of materials like denim –– it’s uncomfortable. You don’t have to buy something fancy to sleep in, but a comfortable pair of sweats and a soft blanket can make all the difference.

These are just a few of the steps you can take to sleep better when you’re on the road for days or even weeks at a time. What have you done to make your sleeper birth more comfortable? If you have suggestions, please visit our Facebook page and let us know.