WRONG - where we in for a surprise when we took that first load.  While both of us found it very easy to take catnaps in the front seat we found sleep while lying down in a bouncing bed to be a new challenge.  We also forgot to consider that we needed a good nights sleep in order to drive 11 hours.
The first week as new team drivers found both of us tired and instead of sleeping trying to figure out if we could file bankruptcy.  We had a new truck, a new lease, and we could not sleep.  Not a good combination.  The least of our worries had become our biggest worry. 
We planned our start as owner operators at a slow time of the year, January, so that we could learn the ropes and to be able to regroup before our next load.  This plan is what saved us as we could get sleep in a stationary vehicle before heading out on the next load. 
The first truck was equipped with a spring mattress that made it difficult to sleep in in a moving vehicle.  We found ourselves trying to sleep as we bounced up, came back down and would wake up when we landed back on the mattress then repeat.  We purchased a memory foam mattress that solved the bouncing problem.
Next came noise.  Our first trucks sleeper let in all sounds and most of the cold or the heat as there was little insulation.  Funny how it is hard to fall asleep when the other trucks were passing our truck within a few feet of our heads.  Every creak, rattle and rumble strip noise was heard loudly in the sleeper.  We purchased earplugs that we formed to fit our ears.  This drowned out most of the road noise.   HEAT OR COLD
Next we had to learn to sleep as the truck sped up and slowed down for traffic.  We were getting a workout as we rolled forward and back in the bed.  This problem was solved with the placement of pillows. 
Once these problems were solved it came time to get our brains to slowdown and relax which has never been easy for me.  I found that reading or listening to a book that was not too exciting helped.  I also used lavender sheet spray for my pillow and sheets.  The blinds would be used on the windows and the sleeper curtain is firmly shut blocking out all light. 
Before we knew it we were once again back to sleeping.  If we had started out in a Cascadia I believe we would have found this process somewhat easier due to the quietness of the truck and how smooth we go down the road. 
Learning to sleep while the truck is moving is no easy feat.  First find a mattress where you will not bounce, get earplugs, get the sleeper closed up so it is dark and I also like to keep it cool, use lavender sheet spray, read a book to get your mind off of trucking, use pillows to help you not roll in the bed, relax and get some shut eye as it is almost your turn to drive!

Comment (1)

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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This really gives me more insight into the trucking life. I'm not a driver, but I work for a non-profit that helps drivers with life while on the road (Transport For Christ).
Thanks for the article.

September 26, 2013 10:15:45 AM