Maintaining a sleep schedule is not easy when our work is sporadic. During the day a lot happens, phones ring, Omnitracs pings, we get in and out of the truck often, and people are more apt to walk by the truck talking. We found it very hard to sleep during the day while parked. After stepping back and thinking about our own circadian rhythm we decided to quit fighting ourselves and do what was natural. Bob is a night owl and I am a morning bird. Now we switch about three in the morning and three in the afternoon. Yes, that equals twelve hours but it usually takes about twelve hours to drive ten and a half hours.
How can it take twelve hours to drive ten and a half hours? Once we start driving or we go on duty to perform a pre-trip our fourteen-hour clock starts. During our day while driving we stop for restroom breaks, fuel, or to stretch our legs and that all goes against the fourteen-hour clock, hence it takes 12 hours on the clock to drive ten and one half hours most days. About a half hour before we switch drivers we wake the other up so they can start preparing to drive. Each of us has our own preferences of what we like to have sitting beside us, drinks, snacks, gum, and head sets.
The biggest problem is when we are sitting without a load and keeping to a schedule. Bob usually goes to bed much later than me and I get up much earlier than Bob. Bob likes to sit up front and play Sudoku or solitaire on his IPad, watch movies, or listen to books all using a head set. When I get up I make two cups of coffee that I put in my Contigo coffee mugs so that the coffee stays hot and I bring my computer to the front of the truck. After taking the dog for a walk I settle in with my computer to read the morning news and then work on blogs. Both of us stay as quiet as possible to not wake the sleeping partner.
The biggest problem about sitting in the front with the curtain closed is staying cool in the summer and warm in the winter. In the summer, I have a little fan that I set at the bottom of the sleeper curtains to draw the cool air out of the sleeper to keep the cab cool. In the winter when it is REALLY cold I have a small space heater I set up front with me. When it is not that cold I have a wonderful fleece blanket and lay over my legs and I wear big fluffy warm socks.
In the morning if we are at a truck stop I will often go inside to eat breakfast and work on the computer to give Bob additional time to sleep in. It is a nice break to sit inside, at a corner table and work away while having an endless supply of coffee. I much prefer to sit inside at a TA/Petro as they bring a small coffee carafe and I can refill my cup as needed.
The idea is to respect the others sleep time. I know there are times when Bob would prefer to do some work on the truck in the evening when it is cooler but he knows I cannot sleep if he is opening and closing doors or making lots of noises. I also do not clean the truck while Bob is sleeping. This does cut into our work time on the truck as it is basically from about 11 am to 6 pm that we can make lots of noise.Team driving can be difficult in very tight quarters 24 hours a day. Respect for each other’s space and sleep time is essential as our lives depend on our partner’s ability to drive safely.