The monotony of driving for extended periods will get to everyone. Sitting in the same car or truck for hours can begin to make even the best driver slowly break down and struggle to stay awake. The white noise of the road even provides a lullaby of sorts that makes it easy for your mind to wander on a long drive.
There are plenty of ways to combat this struggle if you’re aware of your limits and find what works best for you. Staying fresh and awake while driving is of utmost importance for your health, along with everyone else that you are sharing the road with. So check out these tips that will help you stay awake while driving and keep the roads a safer place!
Effective Ways to Stay Awake While Driving
Healthy Meals and Snacks
The convenience of fast food stops will quickly weigh you down. All of the fat, sugar and salt slows the body and increases sleepiness. Instead, pack a cooler full of healthy alternatives like lean meat sandwiches, fresh veggies, nuts, sunflower seeds and more great items to increase your stamina on the journey ahead.
Roll Down the Windows
Sitting in the same confined area is sure to leave your car stuffy and full of stale air. Rolling down the windows brings in a fresh wave of oxygen and provides an immediate jolt to your system.
Lower Temperature at Night
When driving at night, it’s important to keep your body a little uncomfortable. The mind’s natural inclination to want to sleep can be fought off a bit with the help of an air conditioner. The colder air keeps you more alert and doesn’t allow you to start to drift away.
Pull over for a few minutes and start moving. Your body isn’t meant to sit around all day. Take advantage of rest stops, parking lots or safe shoulders on the road and get out for a minute. Stretch and walk for a bit to get your blood flowing again.
Crank Up Your Favorite Mixes
Putting on your favorite album or mix is a great way to keep yourself engaged. Sing along to songs you know the words to and get involved with the music.
Mix in the Comedy or Audio Books
At the same time, listening to repetitive music may be counter-productive. Bring along a few comedy albums or audio forms of the books you’ve been meaning to read. Introducing unknown stories and jokes will keep your mind active.
Always have plenty of water handy! Much like fast food, sugary drinks are not going to help for very long. Water is essential to regulating your body and keeps your mind sharp and focused.
When the drive is proving a bit too arduous, reach for a caffeinated drink. Everyone will hit the wall at some point, so keep something close by. The immediate boost of the taste and few hours of energy will help fight off the tiredness for just long enough.
Turn on the Lights
At night, don’t let your internal clock win so easily. Your brain begins sending signals to the rest of your body that it’s getting close to bed time when the sun goes down. By turning on the interior light, you introduce a new element for your brain to process.
Always have plenty of gum on hand during any long drive. It may not seem like a lot of work, but chewing a piece of gum is making your whole body work. Rather than sitting still, the motion of your jaw is making a lot of muscles move and increasing blood flow to your brain.