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Showing posts with label sleep. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sleep. Show all posts

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

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Sleep is important. Yeah, you’ve heard it a billion times before. And from a safety standpoint, it’s a matter of life and death. Wait, what? Well, if you’re an OTR trucker, a decrease in sleep can lead to an increase in fatal trucking accidents. Add that to the health issues, and you have the perfect storm to bring a trucker down.

Does it take you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep? Do you wake several times during long sleep periods? Do you take frequent naps? Are you always tired? You probably have a sleep disorder. Now, you might think you’re indestructible, but let’s talk about how this affects you and what you can do.

18 Wheels of Safety

There are plenty of reasons why auto accidents happen – but we’re here to focus on sleep deprivation as a factor. Drowsy driving increases accidents and near misses for any driver on the road. The difference between you and a four-wheeler is you’re an 80,000 pound missile on wheels when you lose control. When you’re drowsy, your reaction time is slowed down, and you will rationalize bad decisions that endanger you and other truckers.

Most accidents occur during the hours of midnight to 2 a.m., 4 a.m. to 6 a.m., and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. How does this impact trucking? Well, this factor is huge for commercial drivers – especially long-haul drivers – because at least 15% of all heavy truck crashes involve driver fatigue.

Health on the Highway

We’ve talked about health and fitness many times, but sleep is just as important. When you lose sleep, your body’s defenses are weakened. This increases your risk for infections, high blood pressure, and diabetes. When you’re sleep deprived, your appetite increases, leading to overeating and obesity.

What’s the Best Way to Sleep?

How you approach sleep matters, so take extra precautions for your health. Use curtains, truck shades, or an eye mask to block out light. Cover noise with a fan or a white noise machine. Make sure your cab or bedroom is a comfortable, cool temperature. And make sure you have a comfy mattress, pillow, and bedding. Make sure you’re parked in a quiet, but safe area.

While you might be tempted to hydrate before bed, avoiding liquids will keep you from having to get up in the middle of the night. Keep your distance from stimulants like caffeine and nicotine. Avoid heavy and spicy foods, and stop eating 2-3 hours before bed. Don’t forget, exposure to blue light from electronics will trick your brain into thinking you’re awake.

What Should I Do Now?

Well, if you notice any of the symptoms of sleep apnea or insomnia, contact a doctor. Make sure you’re firm with family, friends, and dispatchers about your sleep issues, when you’ll be sleeping, and that you want to avoid interruptions.

Your health and safety are vital to your job, so don’t let sleep deprivation get the best of you! You have enough to worry about with wintery roads, 2290s, and IFTA deadlines! And If you need any help on your truck tax filings, contact us by phone or email.

How do you prepare for sleep when you’re on the road? Let us know in the comments and on Facebook!


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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

#WellnessWednesday: Getting Enough Sleep

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Hello, Trucking Nation! ExpressTruckTax is back to give you more wellness advice. We’ve been covering some basics when it comes to staying healthy on the road, such as how to maintain a balanced diet, achieve mindfulness, and exercise to eliminate back pain. There is one topic, however, that I’d love to discuss with you, and that is getting enough sleep.

In 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced new federal regulations to improve the safety of truck drivers, including a maximum average workweek of 70 hours. The FMCSA had also retained the 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour work day.

That’s a lot of hours to be driving if you ask me. Therefore, getting enough sleep is one of the most important steps you can take in order to stay healthy and alert. While you know it's true, you may be thinking about those common interruptions that tend to keep you awake, like too much light, sound, or vibration, and wonder if there is a way around it. Well, truckers, there is a way! Let’s take a look at some tips that can help you catch more zzz’s:

Reduce Sound


To get a good amount of sleep without the interruption of noise from other cars, trucks, or people, truck stops and rest stops are familiar places that allow peace and quiet. Another option is to wear a pair of earplugs—that should do the trick!

Eliminate Exposure to Sunlight


If your hectic schedule only allows you to sleep in your truck during the day, you should block out as much sunlight as possible. For maximum darkness, close all of your curtains, wear a sleep mask to cover your eyes, or lay a sunshade across your windshield, which can also block the outside heat from coming in.

Decrease Smells and Odors


You may like sleeping with your windows down, but it’s important to stop any bad odors from entering your truck, such as diesel exhaust, so roll them up to your comfort level! Some other suggestions are to remove trash regularly and park far away from dumpsters, sewage treatment plants, and other relatable locations.

Minimize Movement and Vibration


As mentioned earlier, a truck or rest stop are ideal places to fall asleep, as they can also minimize any movement or vibration that you would feel if you parked on the side of the road.

Even though your sleeping hours are affected by a busy work schedule, it is possible to fall asleep with only peace and quiet in the background. After all, getting restorative sleep is not only necessary for your health, but also for your job.

Do you have some tips on how to get enough sleep on the road? Or maybe you would like to share some highlights from your own wellness journey. Either way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter! We love hearing from you, Trucking Nation!

You can also call us at 704.234.6005 or email us at support@expresstrucktax.com if you have any questions.


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