If there is a long trip coming up, you may have a worry that you could start to feel exhausted from the journey, once you finally arrive you can sometimes feel you have no energy to go out and do anything if you are driver. Driving as we all know can drain you mentally.
Driving can cause mental fatigue and when your mind works hard, it can also have a knock on effect on your body as well, and physcially take a toll. So firstly make sure you have a good nights sleep before
you set out on any road trips, even the ones that are not as long.
Really take care of yourself the night before and when you are on it, so this means preparing well both mentally and physically. And making sure that you don’t over do it when you are on the road, and take the breaks when your body needs them. Preparation and these small things can really make a big difference, so with that in mind below are some tips to keep yourself in the best shape possible before setting out on that journey.
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1. Take a Nap Before You Start Driving
We recommend a nap, if you are not heading out until later or in the middle of the day, have a relaxing nap so that you are mentally recharged before the trip. It doesn’t need to be a long one, a short 30 minute power nap can do the trick, its been scientifically proven that a short nap like that can have benefits and will keep you sharper on the roads.
Even if you’re not planning to leave until the middle of the day, you should go ahead and nap so that you’re better prepared for the trip. It doesn’t have to be a long nap, either. In fact, just a 30-minute nap can make you feel much better once you get started and help you keep going and feel more rested for a much longer period of time.
2. Eat Some Nuts
No nuts do not contain a magic ingredient to keep you awake, but the process of getting into the pack, having to open it and getting each nut out to eat can occupy your mind and body which can help keep you more awake and less likely to fall asleep.
3. Try Some Citrus Fruits
These fruits that include oranges, grapefruits and mandarins, can help keep you awake for longer. We don’t know the exact reason but its something long distance drivers have said for years works, and if it has worked for them, we think we could all find it useful
4. Tighten and Stretch the Muscles in Your Body
If possible tighten your Muscles, every now and again, make all your body tight and use your muscle to do so. This may have to involve a stretch to get the best outcome. But this car type yoga can help awaken the dormant muscle from your long stretch sitting down and get the blood pumping in them again. You will need to stop the car to do this, and get out on the side of the road but this method will work well and really reduce the chance of anyone falling asleep/
5. If Possible Do Your Driving During the Daylight Hours
No matter how well rested you feel, driving long distance in the dark is much harder and you can always start to feel the affects of sleep setting in. This is because the body releases melatonin into you when it gets dark, which is the sleep hormone and when this happens you will all of a sudden feel sleepy. Theres only one way to avoid natures way of getting you to sleep and that is to drive in the daytime.
For some reason, even if you’re well-rested, it is usually much harder to drive when it’s dark outside than it is during the daytime hours. It may be psychological or it may be physical, but if you do most of your driving during the daytime, it is all but guaranteed to keep you awake for a lot longer.
6. Get on Your Cell Phone and Call Someone
Another option is speaking to someone, either via Bluetooth or by stopping the car and speaking to a friend or family member. It can work well if you are driving alone on a long journey. Think of it as a good way to catch up with your family or friends.
7. Chew Gum
This is a tried and tested method that many swear by. Once again its a phsycial acticity that your can help keep you awake. you are much less likely to feel sleepy if you are chewing, as your body thinks food might be coming and will not start to get sleepy.
It also can taste nice, so its good for that!
8. Listen to Some Upbeat Music
Listen to some upbeat music, its hard to be tired when you are listening to upbeat loud music. So turn up the volume when you are feeling tired, if you are into heavy metal great, that will work the best!
Either way avoid the slow relaxing songs on your playlist as this will have the opposite effect and will send you to the land of nod quicker!
9. Pull Over and Rest
When you start to feel restless and sleepy, you should pull over and rest. This depends on your own body and how tired you are. But we recommend you pull over and take a rest, you can do some energetic stretches, grab a cup of coffee if you need a caffeine boost. Or if needs be take a nap in the car. This can be a good idea if its just you solo driving and are not in a car full of kids.
10. Turn on a Light
If its getting dark, put on a light in your car. Lights have been proven to keep you awake by suppressing the sleep hormones in your body. Obviously you can’t put on a huge light, but a small one will do. This is a known tool that truck drivers use.
11. Drink a Caffeinated Energy Drink
Energy drinks do work, we would not recommend having these all the time, but they have big doses caffeine and other ingredients to keep you awake, they are full of sugar too, so we would not say take to many of these. So this is a good last ditch effort to get you awake, and will work very well, but the more you have them the less effective they will be and the more you will need to drink to get the same affect on your body.
12. Enjoy Some Comedy and start laughing
If you enjoy comedy, we would say get a CD with your favorite stand up comic, and listen to it as you are driving along.They say laughter is the best medicine and it will also keep you awake. It also will improve your mood and put a smile on you race, so why not try this out!
13. Open your Windows in Your Vehicle
Fresh air, this tends to work because a nice air flow can make a difference and make you feel refreshed. You don’t need to open it fully and blast the air in, just open two of the windows and get a nice airflow and that will do the trick. It will cool down your car and give you a flow of fresh air, as stuffy hot air can make you feel sleepy
14. Keep Drinking enough Water
When your body is dehydrated you will start to get tired. Along with that you get lower brain function which can make you get brain fog. Brain fogginess will make it harder to concentrate on the road. So make sure you are drinking throughout your drive and making pit stops to ensure you are hydrated. Keep a bottle of water by your side while you are driving.
15. Chew on Ice Cubes
This may seem like an odd trick, but its one that is recommended by truckers who would know a thing or two about long distance driving. So when you next get in a store on a pit stop, get a cup full of ice and pick up and chew it while you are driving. The sensation of the cold and the chewing combined will keep you much more awake while you are driving.
16. Drive with a another person if Possible
This can help because driving with a partner is not only more fun but it can help you more alert. It can help you get through the journey faster as time flies when you are having fun as the say , and a deep conversation can really make the time fly on your trip. They can also keep an eye on you and say if you are looking tired and you need a break. The other benefits is that if they drive they can help share the load of the journey, by them taking a turn driving.
17. Never Rush
Do not rush to your destination, there is the saying better late than never, so keep going a ta steady speed on your journey. If you are rushing and you are tired this a deadly and possible deadly combination as the faster you drive the harder and less time you have to react.
18. Wipe Your Face with something wet
You could also use a few different variations of this including a wet wipe. But something cold on your face will help you stay awake. This is because it will refresh your face and help you not fall asleep.
19. Avoid Alcohol totally
Of course avoid Alcohol but is has to be said never drink and drive. Staying away from this will help you stay alrt and keep your reaction times on top form, even a small amount of alcohol can make you feel more lucid and less alert. Making you more dangerous on the road and more likely to fall asleep on long journeys
20. Bring Some Vitamin C Tablets
A lesser known fact may be that vitamin c has been shown to help keep people awake. You can get this in a chewed form or a drink form, just get these own you and you will enjoy the benefits very quickly. If you like orange juice bring a carton of juice with you on the trip, not only will it help you stay awake but it tastes nice and will keep you hydrated.