Quilt made for us by good friend Jo Short


As team drivers we very seldom have to change our sleep patters as many solo drivers do day in and day out.  Sometimes a solo can start their day very early and then switching it around and starting their day very late. 
Learning to sleep in a moving vehicle is not easy for most, but learning to sleep when we would normally be awake is an art form.    In our situation we found that to sleep the best we need it to be dark inside and outside of the truck.   During the day there is a lot that happens, we receive load offers by phone or by computer, the traffic is heavier, and if not under a load we are inside and then outside of the truck doing chores.  Like many other drivers we switch between three and four in the morning and three and four in the afternoon.
If we are not under a load it is easy to keep to this schedule and still enjoy eating a meal together, grocery shopping, or visiting with other drivers and still get our sleep.  One of the hardest things a team driver faces is changing time zones and for the evening driver the sun seems like it will never set and the morning driver wondering if the sun will ever come up!  If we spend very much time on the west coast our internal clocks slowly change to that time zone and then easily switch back once we head east.
Sleeping in a moving truck is not the same as dozing while someone else drives in a car.  We made that mistake when we first started team driving and did not see any problems falling asleep in a moving vehicle.  Where we ever wrong!  Dozing was not a problem in a car and we could easily switch out drivers on long trips for a few hours while the other dozed.  Not a problem right?  In a commercial vehicle where we were going to need to drive our shift of eleven hours now that was a problem as a short nap was not going to get it.
First we added a memory foam topper to our bed as bouncing while trying to sleep did not work at all.  Next we made sure that nothing rattled in the sleeper and that the sleeper was made as dark and as cool as possible.  One of the problems faced as the truck goes down the road is rolling in the bed forward and backward in the bed as the truck slows down or speeds up.   Putting a pillow between your body and the wall helps to absorb much of this movement. 
Before going to bed relax your mind by reading a book.  If noise of the passing vehicles bothers you or when parked at a truck stop and trucks come and go all night use earplugs.  I found the best to be the ones in the shooters sections of stores that are form fitting to your ears.   To help me relax I often spray the sheets and pillow with a mixture of lavender and vanilla that I purchase.  Also using lavender essential oil on the soles of your feet seems to help me to relax.  
Mastering sleep is often the key to becoming a successful team operation.


Comments (8)

Linda Caffee

Bob and Linda started their driver careers after their children left home for college in 2000. Bob started as a driver for a large motor carrier with Linda as a rider. They decided to enter the Expedite industry as team drivers in 2005 and purchased their first Freightliner. Both, Bob and Linda have had their Class A licenses since the early 80's starting out driving in the oil field and hauling grain as fill in drivers where Bob worked as a diesel mechanic. Linda worked at the local country courthouse in data processing.

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chetjester I CANNOT image sleeping behind a trainee... Trusting the person behind the wheel is the first step in letting go of being a control freak. I even think Henry could get over it in time if he drove team with the same person all of the time. We have met a couple of team drivers who never had a problem sleeping but they are few and far between.

April 24, 2016 6:08:31 AM

Very nice recommendations, Linda. Thank you.

Oh Henry, you are so right. I trained some drivers when I worked for CR England but had to give it up because I never got any good sleep.

I can sleep at any time of day as required of a solo, but usually not much more than 6 hours. This is why I complain non-stop about the hours of service. I would so like to be able to return to the split sleeper rules.

April 22, 2016 20:48:26 PM

Stephen that is a great mattress! Good choice to start out with and not ever have to go through the bouncing into the air...

April 22, 2016 15:38:11 PM

Well Linda we are getting lots of practice. We have a Tempur Pedic mattress that we sink into that locks us into place. LOL

April 22, 2016 8:26:08 AM

Good points about team and solo sleeping. I am a solo, and you're right, I have to make adjustments all the time to get the sleep I need. But over the years I have found it easy to sleep when needed. Day or night, I just "turn it off" and sleep. At least when I am resting, my bed doesn't move!

April 22, 2016 5:54:21 AM

It takes time and a lot of practice to get sleeping in a moving truck right and it also takes the right mattress. It is imperative that you have a mattress that will not let you bounce. When we first started driving team our first problem was learning to sleep while we were going up and then coming back down before we landed on the mattress again. Any rough road will quickly convince you to go upgrade the mattress or get a foam topper.

April 22, 2016 5:06:42 AM

Great article Linda! When I went from being a solo to a team operation it was difficult getting sleep while the truck is moving. I like being a team over a solo with more normal sleeping pattern.

April 21, 2016 20:44:05 PM

I have ran team for short periods of time with drivers in which there was much trust in their driving ability. Yet still I had a difficult time sleeping while traveling down the road . My theory for my problem was that I must be too much of a control freak to turn over the reigns to someone else . Every time I felt the truck change direction it seemed way too important for me too know where we were and what was happening . I guess some people are better suited to team driving than others . At the same time I often wonder if I would have gotten accustomed too team driving over time .

April 21, 2016 10:31:59 AM