The value of sleep

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We’re always told that we need 8 hours of sleep, but that’s easier said than done! Plus, if we’re not getting good quality sleep, it doesn’t matter how long we’re down for, we won’t be properly rested for the next day. Think about it – sleep is how your body recovers and heals itself each night, but if sleep is being compromised, how can you expect it to function properly?

Sleep on the road is even more of an issue, as the environment isn’t ideal and it can be hard to get your brain out of work mode when you’re still in the truck. These tips can help you make the most out of your shut eye in the truck so that your health, energy, and safety on the road are all at their best.

Exercise daily. This has been shown to greatly reduce the time it takes to fall asleep as well as improve sleep quality. For some, exercise too late at night can cause difficulty falling asleep, so if that’s the case for you, be sure to work out earlier in the day! Even something as simple as a walk (or a few laps around your truck) can help.

Set a strict bed time. At the risk of sounding like I’m talking to a child, I have to say this one is more important than you think. It’s easy to push the time back later and later when you’re busy scrolling on your phone, talking to family at home, or watching a movie. Next thing you know, it’s midnight and you have to be up in 5 hours, but you could have been asleep 2 hours ago. Don’t negotiate with yourself, and don’t stay up past your bed time!

Get fresh air throughout the day. You know how well you sleep after spending a long day outside? That’s what we’re going for here! If you haven’t made it outside much, step out of the truck for a few deep breaths before hitting the hay, or even crack a window to get the air circulating; it will refresh you and help shift you into sleep mode.

Meditate – hear me out on this one. We often jump into bed with a mind still racing from the day, expecting to just be able to shut it off instantly and fall asleep. Your brain is too powerful for that, and it could keep you up for hours if you have a lot on your mind, so meditation is a great way to prep the mind for sleep. It can be as short as 5 minutes and as simple as listening to calming music while focusing on your breath. I recommend using an app to guide you, such as Insight Timer or Headspace. If you struggle with shutting your brain off at night, I highly recommend trying meditation.

Stick to a routine. You may not be able to get to bed at the same time each night, but you should follow a ritual of 2-3 steps each night before shutting down. This will help prep your body for sleep, signaling that it is time to wind down. Even something as simple as brushing your teeth and then reading for 10 minutes can make a difference if you stay consistent. Make a tea, do some stretches, meditate, what ever works for you… just keep your routine consistent so your body knows when it’s time for sleep!

Evaluate your mattress. The mattress that came in your truck likely isn’t the best one for you, so if you don’t love it, fix it! Buying a foam topper is a great way to improve your mattress affordably, and there are endless options to choose from. Gel toppers keep you cool, while memory foam is very comfortable and great for sore joints; both can be purchased in firm or soft varieties. Your pillows, sheets, and blankets make a difference in sleep quality, too, so make sure you love them and truly find them comfortable.

Block out light. Get extra blackout curtains for the windshield/windows or any sources of light, put electrical tape over any little power lights from electronics, or use a sleep eye mask if you’re sensitive to light. This can be tricky on the road, I get it, but do your best to control any and all sources of light that you can.

Sound. If you are easily woken by sound, consider using a white noise machine or app, fan, or earplugs.

It may not always be easy to get a good sleep on the road, but it is possible if you take control of your routine and sleeping environment.

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Andrea Morley is the lead nutritionist and health coach at Healthy Trucker (a division of NAL Insurance), where she educates and motivates drivers and office staff across the industry to improve their health through simple, consistent changes in their diet and exercise routines. She has a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition from the University of Guelph, and is passionate about wellness and helping others reach their goals. She can be contacted at

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