How to Stay Awake While Driving (11 Useful Tips)

How to Stay Awake While Driving

If you want to control your sleep and wakefulness, it is important to understand the science behind it. Sleep and wakefulness are a physiological process, and there is scientific backing to it. According to The International Journal of Sleep and Wakefulness, the time of the day determines the likelihood of a person to sleep. However, the time of the day is just one aspect. There are also other factors that affect our sleep patterns as such a diet.

The diagram below shows how sleep varies depending on the time of the day. According to the study, the day period (awake) is between around 9:00 AM and 11:00 PM. The optimal and ideal time for sleep (night) is 11:00 pm and 6:00 Am. This is an indication that the time of the day can affect the sleep quality and duration. Of course, the study may differ slightly from one person to another.

This study can help you to determine the best time to sleep and also the best time to stay awake. When driving, you need to drive on the period that you are less likely to fall asleep.

So, let’s get started……

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Stay Awake While Driving (Infographic)

Get enough sleep at night (Tip #1)

Staying awake the entire night watching movies can be exciting. The reality hits you in the morning when you have to drive to work. If you do not sleep at night, you will have to compensate for the lost sleep hours in the morning. Unfortunately, sleeping on the wheel in the morning is dangerous, and you need to avoid it as much as possible.

How to stay awake while driving in the morning

The surest way to avoid sleeping on the wheel is to get a good night sleep. When you get enough sleep at night, you will wake up refreshed and it will be easy to stay focused.
Take a healthy and high protein breakfast before you leave. High protein breakfast keeps you energetic by supplying your brain and muscles with energy. You will not feel drowsy and or weak on the wheel if you take a healthy breakfast.
Allow some air inside the car and enjoy the morning breeze. The morning breeze helps you to stay awake after being asleep for some hours.

So remember…:

  • Sleep enough at night so that you can be adequately awake for the morning drive.
  • Start the day with a healthy protein breakfast to get the energy drive and avoid drowsiness.
  • Open the windows for the morning breeze as you drive.

Take a power nap (Tip #2)

Driving for long distances can be exhausting even to the best of drivers. Truck drivers who drive for long hours admit that they get drowsy on the wheel sometimes. When driving for long hours, the idea is to keep your concentration levels high and avoid going into sleep. Sitting on the wheel can be tiring, and it is not uncommon to feel sleepy.

How to stay awake while driving long distances

Take stops after driving for a few hours. A 20-minute break after driving for 3 hours will help you to stay focused. Get out of the car, go to a convenience store or go to the washroom.
Chew some gum to keep your mouth and mind busy. Chewing gum will avoid yawning. Yawning often leads to sloppiness, and you need to prevent yawning as much as possible.
Get a driving partner when going for long distances. When you have someone to talk to it will be difficult to sleep.

Keep in mind…:

  • Take short naps to compensate for sleep and stay focused.
  • Chew some gum while on the road to keep your mind busy while driving.
  • A driving buddy for chatting while on the way will prevent boredom.

Stay hydrated (Tip #3)

We all know that water is essential for good health, but it is even more important when it comes to sleep issues. When driving, you need to stay hydrated by taking enough water. Taking a lot of water means more trips to the washroom, but the effort is worth it. If you are not a coffee person, you can still stay hydrated without taking caffeinated drinks.

How to stay awake while driving without caffeine

Just drink enough water when driving and you will stay awake. Next time you feel thirsty and develop the need to get a caffeine stimulant, grab a bottle of water.
Apple juice is an excellent substitute for coffee when driving. Apple juice contains natural sugar that gives you the glucose that you need to stay awake. It also has vitamins necessary for your body.
Ice water and a slice of lemon are also useful for hydration. In case you do not like pure water, adding some lemon slices and ice cubes can help you to stay hydrated.

So don’t forget to stay hydrated…

  • A bottle of water will keep you refreshed and prevent you from feeling thirsty.
  • Taking apple juice is a good substitute for coffee because it has natural sugars and vitamins
  • Ice water with lemon is okay to break the monotony of taking pure water.

Use a wet wipe or wash your face (Tip #4)

Driving when tired will make you feel sleepy. When tired your body tries to relax the muscles, and you are likely to fall asleep on the while. After a long day at work, driving home can be the last thing that you want to do. If you often feel the need to sleep while driving from work, it is possible to manage the issue by wiping your face.

How to stay awake while driving home from work

Freshen up by washing your face before you start driving. If you do a high-stress job, you will be tired at the end of the day. If you cannot take a shower at work, make sure that you wash your face. Washing your face makes you feel fresh and focused.
Roll down the windows and allow some air inside the car. After spending hours at work, you need to let air inside the car to enjoy the fresh air. It is impossible to sleep when enjoying the fresh air.
You can also take a 30-minute power nap on your desk before you start driving back home.

Some useful ways to stay awake while driving:

  • Washing your face is a quick way to feel refreshed instead of showering.
  • A 30-minute power nap at work will keep you focused on your drive home.
  • Opening windows will allow fresh air inside and also noise to keep you awake.

Taking energy drinks to stay awake (Tip #5)

One of the most common way to keep awake whether studying for an exam or even driving is to take energy drinks. Taking energy drinks will help you to stay awake due to their caffeine content. Most of the energy drinks are high in caffeine to stimulate your body in a stay awake.

Best energy drink to stay awake while driving

Coffee is not ideal considered as an energy drink, but it is the best drink when trying to stay awake. A cup of coffee will help you to stay awake for some hours, but you might be required to take the second one after some time.
Tea is also a good stimulant for its caffeine content. However, tea might not be as powerful as coffee when looking for a stimulant.
Red Bull is a favorite energy drink around the world, and you might want to consider this energy drink while driving. There are also other energy shakes available that still work as well as the energy drinks.

Some stimulants to stay awake while driving:

  • Coffee is the best stimulant to keep you work while on the road.
  • Tea is also a good option for people who do not love coffee.
  • Red Bull and other protein shakes with caffeine will also work to keep you awake.

Apps to keep you awake while driving (Tip #6)

Technology has made it possible for you to stay awake when driving. You can take advantage of the apps available to stay awake while driving. The driving apps offer distractions and keep you awake to prevent you from dozing off while on the wheel. Stay awake drive apps are installed on the smartphone, and they are placed on the dashboard of the car.

Stay awake while driving app

Some stay awake apps work on the alarm principle. To use the app, you will be required to place the phone on the dashboard. Once you start sleeping and the app detects that your eyes are closed, the alarm goes on automatically.
We also have apps that will produce the blue light that affect the melatonin production. The blue screen light prevents us from sleeping. The blue light from the app will prevent you from sleeping and stay awake when driving at night.
There are also apps that will need you to keep pressing the screen. In case you do not interact with the app for some time, the alarm goes on, and you are forced to wake up.

Useful apps to keep you awake:

  • Driving apps use an alarm system to wake you up when you sleep.
  • There are also apps that prevent you from sleeping by producing light.
  • Interaction apps will also require you to interact with the apps to avoid sleeping.

Driving devices for helping drivers stay awake (Tip #7)

Unlike the apps that are installed on the phone to help you stay awake, the devices are worn on different parts of the body or placed on the car. The devices do not work on the body directly, but they identify patterns on the body that show drowsiness.

Stay awake while driving device

There are electronic devices that are installed on the dashboard of the car. These devices have alarm systems that produce an alarm when the driver is fatigued. They do that by scientific assessing the facial expression.
Some devices that are worn on the arm and they measure the body temperature by checking the drowsiness. In case the driver starts sleeping, the alarm goes on waking up the driver.
The standard devices are worn on the head and detect head movement when the driver starts dozing off. They also produce a sound that is high enough to wake the driver up.

How can driving devices help drivers to stay awake:

  • Driving devices monitor your body movement and sound an alarm when you sleep.
  • Some devices are attached to the car to determine your eye movement when you sleep to sound an alarm.
  • The signal is meant to wake you up before you fall asleep and save your life.

Snacking while driving (Tip #8)

The reason why many people sleep on the wheel is boredom. Snacking while driving can keep you awake. Do not take huge chunks of food while on the go. Make sure that you take a small portion of snacks while on the go. You can even keep it healthy by biting your apple while on the whole.

Why take snacks while driving?

Snacking will supply you with the energy that you need while on the road. A chocolate bar will keep you energized as you drive for long distances even without eating. Sleeping due to low energy levels will be difficult.
Snacking is also an excellent activity to do while on the road. When driving alone, it can get boring, and you might find yourself dozing off.
Avoid snacks that will distract your driving habits. For instance, it is impossible to focus on eating your steak while on the road because it requires the use of your hands.

Some snacking tips to keep in mind:

  • Snacks supply you with the energy needed to stay awake while driving.
  • Snacking is an engaging activity to prevent you from sleeping.
  • Avoid snacks that are too distractive while driving.

Listen to music (Tip #9)

Listening to music while driving can help you to stay awake. However, you have to be intentional in your choice of music. You need to remember that slow music is likely to induce sleep. Avoid slow and relaxing music while driving. Focus on music that brings you good memories or even inspirational music that makes you think about life. Keeping your brain involved through music is the best way to stay awake while on the road.

Best music to stay awake while driving

Loud and energetic music will keep you awake while on the road. Noise has a significant effect on our sleep pattern, and it is impossible to sleep with lingering sound on the background.
Karaoke songs will also keep you awake. Do not just listen to music, sing along to the tunes that you love. Singing will keep you busy when driving and you will not feel the need to sleep.
Songs that bring memories are also the best while driving. Play songs that you loved when you were young. Songs that brought good memories will keep you happy and energized while on the road.

How music can keep you awake while driving:

  • Loud music is noisy and prevents you from sleeping.
  • Singing along to tune is an excellent activity to keep you awake.
  • Songs that bring memories engage your mind from sleeping.

Temperature and car lighting (Tip #10)

The temperature and car lighting have a significant impact on sleep. If your car feels cozy, you are most likely to fall asleep. Try as much as possible to make your car feel less comfortable. Discomforts tend to distort our sleep pattern. When you are uncomfortable, it is difficult to feel cozy and sleep. You can do this by altering the temperature and lighting in your car.

How to adjust car temperature and brightness

You can drop the temperatures in your car by switching on the air conditioning unit. The air conditioning unit makes the car feel cold, and it keeps you awake. Many people know that sleeping in a cold car is next to impossible.
Putting on the lights is also a good way to put away sleep. The light in the car affects the melatonin level in our bodies, and it becomes difficult to sleep. In case you have blue lights and screens in your vehicle, make sure that you put them on.
Opening the windows will allow cold air inside and prevent you from sleeping on the road.

How temperature and car lighting can have impact on sleep:

  • Make your car feel cold, and this will make it uncomfortable to sleep.
  • Using blue light in the car will also work just like screens that cause insomnia.
  • Cold air from outside also prevents sleep.

Take breaks (Tip #11)

If you drive for more than 5 hours straight, you are likely to start feeling drowsy. It is recommended that you take breaks once in a while to refocus and reenergize. Staying in one place for a long time will make you feel sleepy.

Reasons to take breaks

Breaks will allow you to take in the fresh air. The car can be a little bit stuffy even with the air conditioning unit on. Fresh air will supply oxygen to your brain and keep you awake.
The breaks are also suitable for stretching so that you can allow muscle movement. Moving your muscles will keep you active and prevent you from sleeping.
You can take the breaks to eat some food and also snacks to provide your body with the energy needed for the long drive.

Last but not least:

  • Breaks are good for fresh air supply to the brain – fresh air keeps you awake.
  • Stretching is also useful to stay active and reduce chances of sleeping.
  • Taking a break also allows you to eat and re-energize.

Did I Miss Anything?

Now I would like to hear from you:

Which tip of today’s post are you going to try first?

Or maybe I didn’t mention one of your favorite tips to stay awake.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

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