Considering A Career: Advice On Sleep

Topic 26345 | Page 1

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Highwayman's Comment
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So I've been lurking on this forum for quite awhile now and have gained a lot of helpful information. My thanks to those who contribute. I've been considering going into trucking for a good while now and have gained a lot of information on the industry. And while I feel that it would be a good fit in a lot of ways, there are some areas that certainly make me cautious. Probably the area that concerns me the most would be sleep.Based on what I've read here and elsewhere, lack of sleep is pretty common place in the trucking industry. I seem to be a person who requires a lot of sleep to function properly. In my present situation I get from 6-7 hrs a night during the week, but more during the weekend. I feel like I need 8 hrs to be at 100%, but I can get by with less by making up some on the weekends. That being said, with only 6-7 hrs I experience middle of the day drowsiness that would prevent me from driving during that time (and that time seems to be expanding as well). My thoughts for dealing with this were 1. Taking a brief nap when necessary ( with sufficient wake up time that still shouldn't burn more than an hour of clock) 2. The judicious use of caffeine. (Definitely not leaning heavily on this option). Is killing an hour of clock on a regular basis really a viable strategy? And if it is, what kind earning potential would I have? I'm a disciplined and hardworking person, and I need to be able to earn enough for it to be worth it for me to be on the road, but endangering other people is not something I'm willing to do. I'm perfectly willing to accept that I may not be cut out for trucking, as much as I would love to give it a go. I would really appreciate hearing everyone's thoughts on this. Especially the experienced flatbed guys like Old School, as flatbed is primarily what I'm looking at. Thanks in advance for the help.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
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Welcome Highwayman.

I think you'll be just fine. I tell people I "sleep like a trucker" because after a while you'll learn to get to sleep quickly and sleep very hard any chance you get. I can sleep almost any time of the day or night, or be up any time of the day or night. Normally I'll lay down to sleep and I'm out cold in less than 5 minutes.

You'll adapt. It's no big deal. Drivers are more tired at the beginning of their careers because they haven't adapted to life on the road yet. It won't take too long and you'll get used to it. I wouldn't sweat it.

Highwayman's Comment
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Thanks for the reply Brett, I appreciate the advice. I am generally pretty good at falling asleep quickly as well, so I do think I will be able to adapt to the erratic schedule of trucking fairly well. My concern is that I think I probably need 6 hrs of sleep plus a nap. So my question is how badly would I be limiting myself if I did end up having to regularly take an hour out of my clock with a nap?

Rob T.'s Comment
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So my question is how badly would I be limiting myself if I did end up having to regularly take an hour out of my clock with a nap?

You could always combine the nap with your 30 minute DOT break so you end up only losing out on 30 minutes you could have been running and still get your hour nap in. but also napping while being loaded or unloaded which could easily be over 2 hours.


Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Old School's Comment
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You've got a 14 hour window in which you are allowed 11 hours of driving time. Very few of us drive 11 hours per day. You've got all kinds of time to take a nap.

Here's the caveat... As a rookie, time management is really challenging. It will take you the better part of a year to learn how best to manage your time, but you will usually fall right off into a deep sleep every time you go to bed.

There's nothing like being seriously tired to help you sleep. smile.gif

Bruce K.'s Comment
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Highwayman, I'm 66 years old and believe me, I need 8 hours of sleep every night. When I was driving, I learned to get at least 8 hours every night and had no problem making my appointments. Keep in mind that the modern trucking industry WANTS you to get adequate sleep and their schedules are honed to allow for that. So just relax and pursue your dream.

Highwayman's Comment
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Great point about the 30 min break Rob T. I had thought about napping while being loaded/unloaded but wasn't sure how conducive those times would be for a nap. I guess being creative and adapting yourself to the situation would be key to maximizing your productivity.

That's good to hear Old School. I guess my problem is falling asleep when I don't want to smile.gif What would you say the most important principles a rookie needs to learn about time management are?


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Army 's Comment
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My son is in his second month solo. Sleep schedule seems to be his biggest hurdle. He calls me towards the end of his shift when tired. I know flipping his schedule according to delivery and drive needs is hard for him, but he is managing. I am sure he will get better as most everyone deals with the sleep when you can, drive when you must mentality.

Best of Luck Chris

Brett Aquila's Comment
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I am sure he will get better as most everyone deals with the sleep when you can, drive when you must mentality.

Yeah, he sure will.

One big problem new drivers face is that their mind is on a million things at once. It's overwhelming. With time, things become second nature so you will not need to focus on them so hard.

For instance, watching the traffic around your vehicle and lane control. When you're new, you really have to focus hard on these things. After a while, they become second nature and you really don't have to think about it much. You naturally just do it.

This really frees up a lot of mental energy and your days become less exhausting.

Mikey B.'s Comment
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I also think you will be fine. You have to take a 10 hour break each day anyways so 8 hours sleep shouldn't be a problem. The 30 min break nap idea is right on. It's also great for a shower if you werent able to overnight at a truckstop or a stop where you have free showers.

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