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Staying Awake During Those Long Hauls


Staying Awake During Those Long Hauls

So, you've got another long stint ahead of you?You've been feeling more and more drowsy on these long hauls?We've all done it, found ourselves at the wheel not being ableto stay awake, the light flashing past don't help there'snothing for you to do other than drive and drive and drive! Youseem to find yourself playing eye-spy with yourself to try andstay awake, trying to find some way of entertaining yourselflong enough to make it to the next stop where you can take thatwell-deserved rest that you need. Well we've got some ideas foryou to try out!


It's not always easy to tell when you're too tired to drive. The warning signs that your feeling tired and should probably pull over are:

  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking or heavyeyelids
  • Daydreaming, finding your mind wandering, or just generalmind blanks
  • Missing stops, exits and forgetting parts of your drive
  • Feeling restless and irritated
  • Trouble keeping you head held staright up
  • Yawning repeatedly or sudden sensations to rub youreyes
  • Drifting from your lane, hitting anything, general bad driving that you'd normally avoid

Before someone falls asleep at the wheels, they'll usually lapse in attention, slowed reaction times and generally dangerous driving is usually first. Driving is a difficult thing to do at the best of times, with so may stimuli around you, focusing on yourself, what other drivers are doing, whatever potential threat could leap out at you at any moment.That's a lot to think about, now add being tired to the situation and you're asking for an accident.


Lights

The contrasting lights while on the road don't help fight the feeling of sleep running over your body. The lights all around you are bright and in your face, but the night is dark, as is your cab or car! Obviously there isn't much you can do about some of the lights, but we advise turning down the lights on your dash in order to have them soothing and not so 'in your face'. Also, you want to make sure that you aren't looking into the bright lights of incoming traffic, look slightly off to the side instead. Although the dark does sometimes make you feel tired and drowsy, the contrast lights will do this even quicker!


Radio - Off

You've always been told to keep your mind stimulated using the radio right? Well that's a bad idea during these long hauls, it might seem like it's keeping you awake, but in reality it's just sending you to sleep. Your brain has to process every sound it takes in which can be exhausting, especially considering the number of noises you'd already heard a long haul! You're just adding to the work your brain has to do during the drive! Just stick to the noise of the engine, the wheels on the road and the passing traffic!

Walk

Whenever you get a chance, maybe at the next service station. Stop! Get out of the truck or car and go for a quick walk (outside is usually better but walking anywhere is better than not doing so). Do whatever you'd normally do when you pull up at a service stop, then add an extra 10-minute wander in there! It really helps wake you up!

Coffee

Coffee. Need I say more? Yes, I should because what I'm going to say isn't what you're thinking...  Coffee, the huge energy and caffeine boost that you think will perk you  up after you drink 50 cups, isn't as great as you think. Sure coffee is great for keeping you awake, but you should watch the caffeine intake and make sure you don't try and replace sleep with more coffee, there is nothing better for your body than sleep!  So sip your coffee, make it last longer and try not to mix coffee and energy drinks.

Food

Like caffeine, food is great to keep you awake and alert. But you don't want to fill yourself up. Remember at Christmas after everyone has eaten and stuffed themselves, they all crash out for a quick hour or two. Well, that's what a full belly does! As tempting as that huge meal might try and stick to snacks and eating them slowly as to make them last longer. This not only keeps you awake because your busy eating but keeps your brain more active than you think.

Temperature

When you think sleep, you think Summer, warm, cosy and cuddled up. Right? Exactly! No one ever gets to sleep because they're 'too cold' or because 'it's chilly'. Don't turn the AC on and get warm, this will just increase your tiredness. You have time to get warm and sleepy later when you aren't on the road! So for now get the windows down and let in a breeze.  It doesn't have to be freezing, you aren't trying to catch hyperthermia, you're just trying to keep alert. Borderline chilly is a decent temperature., you'll stay alert and you aren't turning purple! 

Radio - On

Okay, okay, the quiet makes you sleepy too after a while! Turn those radios back on a get to a little dance in your seat! The quiet eventually puts you in a trance-like state where you again find yourself yawning and getting sleepy! But, don't leave them on for too long or you'll get tired of them again, keep alternating them off and on, find something lively, something that will keep you alert. Stay away from those boring monotone shows! 

SLEEP

Eventually nothing works anymore! Sometimes you just need to pull over and hit the pillow! Get yourself an hour or two. Then you'll feel refreshed and energised afterwards. What you need to remember is, we all need sleep, These aren't replacements for sleep, these are just energy boosters for when you need to get those last few miles under your belt! Don't ever try and replace sleep. It's not just us that need it, or brain and muscles crave it too! 

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