(Charisse) Road noise. Reefer noise. Traffic. Wind. Pelting rain or hail. Forklifts going in and out of the trailer. Climbing up and charging down mountain passes. Stopping and starting at traffic lights. Potholes the size of craters at crusty truck stops. Rumble strips on the shoulder of the interstate. Hard braking for some idiot driver who just jumped out in front of your 80,000-lb. situation at 60 mph.

Now imagine you’re trying to sleep.

I am here to tell you…learning how to sleep in a moving semi truck has been one of the greatest challenges we’ve faced as a trucking team. It has taken months of trial and error to arrive at a point where we sleep reasonably well, most of the time.

It took a combination of tools to get this whole scene under control:

First, we had to get the right mattress. After trying the cushions that came with the truck, then experimenting with a thin layer of memory foam, then moving to a bouncy mattress that exacerbated all movement, we landed on a two-layer foam mattress with a cooling top layer (I’m a hot sleeper).

The right pillow makes all the difference, too, and we each found one that worked best for us. To reduce body movement, we bought a weighted blanket with a cooling element on one side so I don’t roast. We added cool, comfortable fitted and flat sheets to slip between.

A high-powered 12v fan for white noise, and eye covers/ear plugs to keep out intermittent light and front-of-cab sounds. Keeping the vents open/blowing out cool air and opening the windows helps with air flow. And for safety, a giant seat belt “net” to keep us from flying out of the sleeper berth.

Quite the ordeal, yes?

We’re still working to form a bedtime routine that helps us wind down, though our days and nights are anything but routine. Some light yoga or guided meditation would probably aid in drifting off to sleep much better than our current go-to of watching funny videos on Facebook, but we’re a work in progress.

We knew we had to get our sleep under control to stay healthy on the road, so it was worth all the frustrating fails to find the sweet spot. And now that we’re well-slept AND eating well (I’ve got an arsenal of instant pot and electric skillet recipes that we love!), time to move on to Healthy Truck Driver Phase #3…fitness. I’m disappointed it took so long to prioritize movement, but hey…adapting to this lifestyle has been one wild ride, so to speak. I’ve already worked up a spreadsheet (because we’re both nerds) of exercises that can be done in and out of the truck using minimal or no equipment. More on that in the coming weeks!

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