The Importance of Sleep for Commercial Drivers
Getting the right amount of sleep can prevent accidents, health problems and mental decline. As a commercial driver, you shouldn’t push yourself to perform to the detriment of your sleep.
Sleep and Your Physical Health
Your body is regulated by a circadian rhythm – an internal clock that controls your sleep-wake cycle and drives your body functions. An irregular sleep schedule or lack of sleep caused by driving long hours can throw your circadian rhythm off balance and affect your physical health.
Poor sleep habits affect your:
- Appetite and digestion
- Immune system
- Cardiovascular system
According to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly half of American adult drivers admit to driving while fatigued. And drowsy drivers cause roughly 71,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths each year.
The neurons in your brain will not function correctly without proper sleep. That affects your decision-making skills and cognitive abilities. Lack of sleep can also cause mental lapses and reduce your ability to react to stimuli, which may mean the difference between driving safely or unsafely.
Sleep Affects Your Professionalism
Getting the right amount of sleep allows your body to produce mood-regulating hormones like dopamine, epinephrine and serotonin. A lack of sleep can cause moodiness and inhibit your ability to interpret other people’s behavior. You may feel irritable or tense, which can affect your professionalism with coworkers and customers.
Find Sleep Habits That Work for You
- Consider your sleep patterns. If you’re more of a morning person, it may be dangerous for you to drive long hours at night. Talk with your supervisor about creating a driving schedule that won’t disrupt your sleep schedule.
- Try to go to sleep and wake up at consistent times. Following a schedule helps your brain regulate your sleep-wake cycle so you won’t wake up feeling groggy.
- Avoid electronic back-lit devices like cell phones, tablets, readers and computers that emit short-wavelength enriched light, also known as blue light. The Sleep Foundation sites studies linking the amount of time it takes to fall asleep with the time spent on devices before bed.
- Create a sleep-friendly environment. Close the curtains, dim the lights and turn down the thermostat. That will let your brain know it’s time to fall asleep.
- Pull over and take naps to mitigate the effects of irregular sleep. Short naps – about 20 minutes – allow your body to enter a light sleep cycle that can refresh your energy and mood.
At Bauer Built, we’re committed to supporting your safe driving habits with comprehensive services and maintenance programs. Schedule service for your commercial fleet today.Categories: Bauer Built Blog, Commercial Services, News