How To Stay The Heck Awake??!!

Topic 19156 | Page 2

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John L.'s Comment
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I drive no more than 4 to 5 hours per shift (or block, if you will) and then stop for at least 2 hours for a nap. Then I drive another 4 to five hours and stop for at least 8 hours. Rinse and repeat and you have completed an 8/2 split to reset your clock; and your never driving long, so fatigue doesn't become a problem.

Derald C.'s Comment
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There is an old trick pilots use.... tickle the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue and you will get a "zing" type head rush and be fully awake. This works for a short time and when repeated, gives diminishing returns but it will keep you awake long enough to get to a safe spot to sleep.

Rick S.'s Comment
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No wonder why during my night shifts now im having lots of trouble staying awake. Im drinking 5-7 coffee energy drinks or monster combinations. I always thought more caffiene and sugar would keep me awake. Thanks for the tips!

They work "in the moment" - but you "crash" when your body uses them up. The more you use, the harder the crash when you come down.

There's no way to "make up for lost sleep". The body doesn't "bank hours", and sleeping and extra hour or two one day, doesn't make up for the hour or two you didn't sleep the night before.

Nothing works as good as a 1/2 to 1 hour "power nap". DO NOT PULL OVER AND NAP IN THE DRIVERS SEAT - it will get you used to sleeping in that seat, and make it WAY EASIER to fall asleep behind the wheel.


G-Town's Comment
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Sleep when you can...adequate rest is critical to your safety and the safety of others. There is no substitute.

Turtle's Comment
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My "go to" trick when I get drowsy is a can of unsalted nuts. I eat em one at a time. Sounds crazy but the activity keeps me going long enough to make it to my rest break

Diver Driver's Comment
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When I wake up, I make a cup of hot, strong coffee. Then I fill up my Ozark cup with ice and Absolute Zero Monster drink. The combination has enough caffeine to wake up the insides. As mentioned, it's hard to doze of when your bladder is screaming. As for snacks, sunflower seeds are my choice.

Straight E.'s Comment
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I appreciate everyone's input. I'm usually driving overnight and returning in early morning hours. I usually run a load out from 11:00-12:00 pm and then headed back around 5-6 am. I usually get back 10-11. Sometimes I have to team drive and it will take most of my hours to get there. Then I will sleep while we get back with an empty. I'm in a utility position, so it varies with what I'm doing that day. My company doesn't allow us to split our 10 hour, plus that would be really hard while teaming.

As for my sleep, I don't seem to be able to sleep straight more than 6 hours.... I'm not sure why. I've been averaging 4-6. I've been going home to sleep lately, so sleeping in the truck isn't the issue.

6 string rhythm's Comment
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I'm a linehaul driver and have spent plenty of time on night shift. Thankfully, I now have enough seniority to choose daylight or night shift. You've gotten plenty of good advice, and there is no substitute for sleep. I used to time my caffeine intake strategically during the hours when I knew I was going to be most tired, but it was early enough so that I could get to sleep in the morning when my run was over. As Daniel said, don't eat heavy during your shift. Watch that sugar.

I'll just add that night shift is a tough animal. There are times when you get 7+ hours during the day and will still be tired at night. Some people just adjust easier, some never do. You need to do your best do maintain a consistent sleep schedule during your work week. Eventually I got used to it and didn't have any more problems staying awake during my run. I had issues flipping my schedule on the weekends to be with my family. I actually got more rest during my work week when I could sleep the most consistently.

Keep your sleeping area dark, or wrap a black T-shirt across your eyes, use ear plugs (get used to them), and that's the best you can do. The black T-shirt works well in places that you can't use black-out curtains (like a temporary hotel room). Background or ambient noise works well (like a fan). Melatonin works well. Benadryl does too, just make sure to take it so you leave enough time for yourself to not be drowsy when it's time to drive. I used to take Benadryl so that I had at least 8+ hours before I needed to be ready to drive. But it's best not to become dependent on sleep aids like Benadryl. Melatonin is a better choice.

Best of luck.


Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

The Transporter's Comment
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I use a taser on myself. It's quite shocking really. rofl-1.gif

Brett Aquila's Comment
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I wrote an article with tips on staying awake:

12 Tips To Help Drivers Stay Awake Longer

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