The Importance of Sleep For Truckers

Sleep plays a key role in health. Researchers still haven’t fully uncovered all the secrets of how sleep works, but it’s clear that it’s essential to feeling well and functioning at your best. For truckers, sleep can be a challenge. Variable schedules and sleeping in a semi-truck can make it difficult to get good rest. However, sleep is a key factor for health and safety on the road.

Here are some reasons getting enough high-quality sleep is important for truck drivers:

1. Safety

Semi-trucks are massive compared to other vehicles on the road, and truckers spend more time behind the wheel than other drivers. Professional drivers must uphold a high standard of safety to protect themselves and others on the road.

Driving while tired has many of the same effects as drunk driving. If you go too long without sleep, you could fall asleep at the wheel or experience involuntary “micro-sleeps” where you lose consciousness for a few seconds at a time. Even in less extreme circumstances, fatigue drains your focus and makes it harder to pay attention to the road.

Caffeine and other “tricks” for boosting your energy can only do so much. At the end of the day, regular sleep is essential for keeping you alert.

2. Physical Health

During sleep, your body undergoes various processes that affect your physical health. For example, certain hormones are regulated as you sleep. These include ghrelin and leptin, which regulate hunger levels and can cause excessive hunger and weight gain when out of balance. Another example is insulin, which regulates blood sugar. Your blood pressure also drops and a lack of sleep can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Not getting enough sleep can also impact your immune system and leave you vulnerable to inflammation and infections. In short, your body can’t function without enough sleep.

3. Mental And Emotional Well-Being

The mental side of trucking plays a larger role than many people realize. Dealing with traffic conditions, staying focused on the road, and minimizing stress all require a positive mindset and the ability to adapt to challenges. Just as sleep affects physical health, it is also key for emotional well-being. A lack of sleep makes it harder to regulate your emotions. It can impact your memory, increase frustration at day-to-day inconveniences, and increase your risk of depression.

Tips For Better Sleep For Truckers

Now that you know how important sleep is, how can you get more of it and improve the quality of the sleep you get?

Here are some practical sleep tips for truckers:

  • Create a routine that you follow before you go to sleep. This helps create consistency even as your schedule changes and makes it easier to fall asleep.
  • Block out light and sound to the best of your ability. This makes it easier to get restful sleep even at busy truck stops.
  • Take naps if you need to. This is much more effective for fighting fatigue than relying on caffeine.
  • Consider upgrading your semi-truck’s mattress and bedding.

Truck Driver Training

If you’re interested in becoming a trucker, Phoenix Truck Driving Institute can help you get started. Our program helps students earn their commercial driver’s license (CDL) in as little as four weeks and we cover a variety of topics related to safe and effective trucking.

Contact us today to learn more about earning your CDL in Phoenix, AZ.


Managing Stress As A Trucker

Any job comes with some degree of stress, and it’s important to know how to manage this for the sake of your success and well-being. When it comes to trucking, stress management also plays a role in keeping drivers safe since it helps prevent road rage and keep you focused on the road.

Here are some tips truckers can use to manage stress:

1. Remember What Motivates You

Everyone has different reasons that motivated them to pursue a career in trucking. Maybe you love the freedom of the open road and wanted to see more of the country. You may also have wanted a career with the flexibility to find a schedule that works for you, or wanted to support your family with competitive pay.

Whatever your personal motivations and values are, try to remind yourself of them when you feel stressed. It can help make the bad days feel like they have a larger purpose and keeps you focused on what matters most to you.

2. Slow Down

If you notice that you’re getting stressed, take a moment to slow down. If you’re behind the wheel, take a few deep breaths and return your focus to the road. When possible, you may even want to find a truck stop or rest area and take a short break. This helps you reset and gives you time to use any coping strategies that work best for you.

This tip is also important for your safety. One major source of stress for truckers is the pressure to make deliveries quickly. While being on time and efficient is important, safety is more so. Reminding yourself of this and making a deliberate attempt to slow down is beneficial for reducing your stress and helps prevents accidents.

3. Take Care Of Your Physical Health

Your physical and mental health are closely linked. If you’re not getting enough sleep, are eating poorly, or have other physical health issues, you’ll likely feel more stressed.

Here are some tips for improving your health as a trucker:

  • Take short runs or walks during your breaks to get moving.
  • Prepare food ahead of time and avoid unhealthy restaurants on the road.
  • Find a routine that helps you get to sleep and make sure to set aside enough time for rest.
  • Drink plenty of water.

4. Find Support

Having others who understand what life on the road is like can help you stay positive even when things are tough. You can connect with students you attended trucking school with, other drivers at your company, or even truckers on online forums. Non-truckers can also be a valuable part of your support system. It helps to have people you can talk to and who have your best interest at heart.

Build A Strong Foundation For Your Trucking Career

If you’re ready to become a truck driver, finding a high-quality trucking school helps you start strong. At Phoenix Truck Driving Institute, we can help you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) in as little as four weeks.

To learn more about out CDL training in Phoenix, contact us today.

What Is The Trucking Lifestyle Like?

You’ll often hear people say that trucking is a lifestyle as much as it is a career. Although this is a bit of a cliche, it’s also true. The trucking lifestyle draws people to the industry, but it can also drive them away if they don’t expect the unique pros and cons of life on the road. Getting an idea of what being a trucker is like can help you decide whether it’s the right path for you.

Here are some key aspects of the average truck driver’s lifestyle:

1. Independence

Unless you drive as a team, you’ll likely spend the bulk of your time as a trucker by yourself. This makes trucking a very independent career. You are ultimately responsible for your own day-to-day actions, within the bounds of regulations and obligations to your company and freight customers. Independent individuals often do well as truckers and appreciate the opportunity to work without a boss looking over their shoulder.

At the same time, independence comes with responsibility. You have to trust that you can hold yourself accountable to meet your goals and stay safe on the road.

This aspect of the trucking lifestyle can also result in loneliness. If you love being around other people all day, trucking will likely be a challenge. However, you can still stay connected to loved ones back home. A pet can also keep you company.

2. Life On The Open Road

Long-haul truckers travel a variety of routes and often wake up in a new location every day. Life on the road has its perks, and one of the biggest is the sense of freedom and independence mentioned above. It also gives you the opportunity to see more of the country. It’s worth noting that trucking is still a job, so you won’t necessarily be able to spend all of your time sightseeing. However, with a bit of planning, you can definitely find ways to check out unique attractions across the nation, and many companies even let you take time off away from your home terminal for a longer stay if you’d like.

Life on the open road also means your semi-truck becomes a home away from home. You’ll need to get used to sleeping in your vehicle, finding healthy food on the road or preparing it in your truck, and living in a smaller space than you may be used to.

3. Relatively Sedentary

One less-positive aspect of the trucking lifestyle is that it is fairly sedentary. Truckers spend a lot of time behind the wheel and don’t often move around much during the day. It’s possible to overcome this by planning time for workouts and short walks during breaks. Eating well can also help you maintain and improve your health on the road.

Is Trucking Right For You?

There is no career like trucking. While it’s not for everyone, those who are drawn to it love the benefits truck driving has. Along with a unique lifestyle, trucking provides high pay and excellent job stability. With Phoenix Truck Driving Institute, you can earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and get started in as little as four weeks.

Contact us today to learn more about our CDL training program.

Handling Semi-Truck Mechanical Issues

In any career, things don’t always go as expected. In trucking, semi-truck mechanical issues and breakdowns are serious setbacks. They can range from a nuisance to a severe hazard. Some of these problems are preventable, while others could happen without any warning. As a trucker, you need to be prepared to handle mechanical failures and should understand how to minimize the risk of them occurring.

Preventing Semi-Truck Mechanical Problems

Truck drivers have a responsibility to prioritize safety, including taking steps to prevent mechanical failures when possible. Pre-trip inspections are an essential step for this. You’re required to make sure your truck is in good working condition before you hit the road each day. There are many parts of the truck you’ll need to check, from your tires to your air brake system. Make sure you know all of these.

Spend sufficient time checking your vehicle, and don’t try to rush through your inspection. In the grand scheme of your day, a thorough pre-trip inspection doesn’t slow you down, and can actually save you time by helping you catch small issues and address them early instead of breaking down on the highway.

If you do notice an issue, communicate with your dispatcher and company right away. They also have an obligation to address safety concerns and should help you find a solution.

Regular preventative maintenance on your vehicle is also important. Many motor carriers have a program and procedure for this. Make sure you know what your company expects for this.

What To Do If You Truck Breaks Down

Even with preventative maintenance and inspections, things can still go wrong, and it’s important to know how to handle it.

1. Safety First

If your truck breaks down, your first priority needs to be your safety and that of others on the road. Move out of the way of traffic if you can. Make your truck visible with the tools you have available and can use safely, e.g. reflective triangles, turning your hazards on, et cetera.

2. Communicate With Your Team

Once you are safe, let your dispatcher and any other team members from your company that you regularly communicate with know what happened. They will help you determine the next steps and will keep the customer informed about any delays.

3. Stay Calm & Address The Issue

A breakdown is a stressful experience, but it’s important to stay calm. Remember that your goal is to get out of the situation safely above all else. As long as you are taking the necessary steps your team tells you, such as getting to a mechanic, and cooperating with any law enforcement on the scene, you are doing all you can and can make up for any delays later. Being overly emotional, however, is likely to make the situation worse.

Learn To Be A Safe Trucker

If you’re interested in a trucking career, Phoenix Truck Driving Institute can help you get started. Our students are able to earn their commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) in as little as four weeks and our instructors cover valuable material related to safety.

To learn more about our truck driving program, contact us today.