Everyone knows that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is dangerous. What about being too tired? A recent study by AAA found that there is a significant risk for people driving while tired. Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night to function well and have optimum concentration and reaction time.
Sleepy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving and driving while you are drowsy increases the chance of having a fatal car accident. If you get only five to six hours of sleep, it has the same effect as having more than the legal limit of alcohol and gives you almost double the chance of having a vehicle accident compared to someone with a full night of sleep.
Interestingly, getting less than four hours of sleep is equal to having double the legal limit of alcohol. This is dangerous for you and others on the road. Sleep deprivation contributes to one out of five fatal vehicle accidents in the United States.
Sleep Hygiene for RV and Truck Drivers
When you’re on the road, sleeping isn’t always easy. You’ve got noises and other distractions to deal with. So, how do you get a good night’s sleep in a truck or RV?
1. The Ideal Sleep Environment
Your sleep area should be like a quiet, comfortable cocoon. The Sleep Council recommends that you keep it dark and block out sound. If your travel schedule causes you to end up sleeping during daylight hours or in a well-lit parking lot, blackout curtains or an eye mask are indispensable.
Dripping rain, whizzing cars, and other commotion are more than mere annoyances when you need to sleep. Earplugs, a white noise machine, or even a fan help block noises that can keep you awake.
Another important factor to consider is having the appropriate temperature. Sleep experts suggest the best temperature for sleeping is between 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Being too hot or too cold can make it hard to sleep well. Keep fans and plenty of blankets on hand.
Keep your sleeping area clean. It’s easy for dust to collect in your truck or RV, and even mildew can develop if you leave your vehicle unused for parts of the year. These can wreak havoc on the sleep of people who have even mild allergies. Itching and sneezing all night are a surefire way to sap your energy the next day.
2. Invest in a Quality RV Mattress or Truck Bed Mattress
To get a great night sleep, a comfortable and supportive mattress is essential. It may be time to replace your RV mattress if it feels uncomfortable or if you’ve had it a few years. A worn-out truck bed mattress or one that is too thin can cause you to toss and turn all night and wake up sore and tired. There’s little worse than waking up feeling exhausted, like you haven’t slept.
Don’t let poor sleep ruin your ability to get your driving done safely. With a few adjustments and the right mattress, a great night’s sleep is possible, even on the road.