The Importance of Sleep

How many hours of sleep do you normally average?  For me, it’s straight forward- if I don’t get at least 8 hours of good sound sleep per night- you might as well not bother being around me… I’m one of those people who just needs their sleep and a lot of it!

I’ve always been amazed at the varied answers I get on this question from drivers I talk to with the range being anywhere from 2-11 hours per night.  It’s hard to imagine how anyone can function long-term on 2 hours of sleep per night.

Research now shows that optimal sleep time ranges from 7-9 hours of sleep per night.  Anything below or above that range may affect your health negatively.  Please refer to: www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/adult-sleep-needs-and-habits for more information on sleep and health.

If you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep you might want to tidy up your sleep hygiene by following some of these suggestions (taken from article written by Michael Thorpy, MD):

  • Avoid napping during the day; it can disturb the normal pattern of sleep and wakefulness
  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol too close to bedtime
  • Exercise can promote good sleep.  Vigorous exercise should be taken in the morning or late afternoon. A relaxing exercise, like yoga, can be done before bed to help initiate a restful night’s sleep
  • Food can be disruptive right before sleep; stay away from large meals close to bedtime.  Also dietary changes can cause sleep problems, if someone is struggling with a sleep problem, it’s not a good time to start experimenting with spicy dishes.  And, remember, chocolate has caffeine
  • Ensure adequate exposure to natural light.
  • Establish a regular relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Associate your bed with sleep.  It’s not a good idea to use your bed to watch TV, listen to the radio or read
  • Make sure that the sleep environment is pleasant and relaxing (I know this is a tough one if you are sleeping in your truck)…

For many, these suggestions are easier said than done- especially for shift workers, team drivers and truck drivers in general whose driving schedule can change frequently.  However, it’s still important to understand the key role that sleep plays with our health and well being.

 

Sweet Dreams everyone!