Truckers know only too well the phenomenon of “highway hypnosis”, but even if you don’t fall into such an extreme category, the moment when the droopy eyelids and fatigue hits you is well known amongst the trucking community.
Don’t lose hope however, as there are many ways to ensure your energy levels stay at an optimum level – usually without the help of caffeine and sugar that can wreak havoc with your health.
Don’t fight the fatigue
The number one rule is if you feel yourself toeing the line of ‘nodding off’, pull over and take a quick power-nap. A short nap, even if it is less than an hour (aim for 20 minutes), can help refresh your mind and revitalise energy. Having a short nap before the start of your trip can help too, to ensure you’re ready for the long haul before you.
Eat the good stuff
Though it is hard to resist the urge to stop by the next fast-food chain for a greasy meal, aim to incorporate healthy meals during your journey, as the fat, sugar and salt in those burgers and fries will just make you tired. Opt for foods that will provide you with long-lasting energy like complex carbohydrates and protein, and make sure you eat 100% whole grains, fruits, and veggies with a mixture of lentils and beans.
Take your vitamins
Vitamin B and C help give the body energy, so make sure to supplement if you feel like you may be low. If taking any supplement, make sure to consume with food so that it is digested and absorbed properly. Otherwise you’ll just end up with some very expensive pee!
A great cure for tiredness is movement. When time permits, aim to stretch your legs as much as you can by pulling over, getting out of your cab and doing a quick round around the truck. Blood flow is usually stifled when sitting for long periods of time, so get that heart pumping to increase the energy.
Turn it up
If needed, turn up the volume of your music. Music has been known to affect mood and energy levels, so listening to some upbeat music that you can sing to will be beneficial. And as the old saying goes, remember to “sing like no one’s listening!”.
Along with your healthy meals, make sure to keep snacking throughout your journey. We don’t mean chips and chocolate though! High amounts of sugar and salt will cause you to have numerous energy slumps, so it’s better to opt for snacks that will keep your energy levels even and on a productive cycle, like fruit or nuts (think almonds or unsalted peanuts).
If you start to tire of singing and music, listen to an audio book – choose a story that will keep you interested and your mind occupied. Nothing too heavy or boring, opt for a scary novel that will pump your adrenaline, or a crime novel to keep you on the edge.
Other ways you can help fight fatigue is by opening your windows to let some oxygen in, keeping yourself hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of water and avoiding coffee, and keeping yourself alert by pinching or poking yourself (this last suggestion is said with caution, as you should not injure yourself, or do it for a prolonged period).
If you feel you might need to refresh not only your energy levels but your truck driving skills as well.