If you have an upcoming vacation or road trip planned, you might be concerned about how you’re going to stay feeling rested once you finally get to your destination. Let’s face it, driving can wear you out, and the reason why is simple.
Driving takes a lot of concentration, and when your body works hard emotionally, it can wear out physically as well. This is why you should always rest up before any road trip you have planned, even the shorter ones.
Simply put, the best way to feel rested after a long road trip is to make sure you take care of yourself both beforehand and while the road trip is still in progress.
This means preparing for the trip both physically and mentally, and making sure you treat yourself right when you’re on the road. Preparation and staying alert during the trip can help you feel better once it’s over, and below are some things you can do to keep yourself rested and well while you’re in the process of driving.
Table of Contents
1. Take a Nap Before You Start Driving
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 Sunflower Seeds
No, sunflower seeds don’t contain some magical ingredient that keeps you awake and alert, but the mere act of having to open up each seed to get the nut out and eat it can occupy both your mind and body and help you stay occupied and relaxed so that you feel less like sleeping and more like driving.
3. Eat Some Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits, especially oranges, grapefruits, and mandarins, can keep you awake and alert for a long time. No one knows exactly why, but this is a trick that many truck-drivers swear by, and if it’s good enough for them, it’ll be good enough for you, too.
4. Tighten up the Muscles in Your Body
Every once in a while, tighten up your entire body to get the muscles nice and taut. It may involve a little bit of stretching to accomplish this, but it wakes the muscles up so they are more ready to support you from then on. It also feels good because it feels like you got up out of your seat to stretch!
5. Try to Do Most of Your Driving During the Daylight Hours
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
If you feel like you’re starting to get tired, you can always pick up the phone and give someone a call. It keeps you alert and gives you something to concentrate on besides staring at the road in front of you. Think of this as the perfect opportunity to do some catching up with your friends.
7. Chew Some Gum
This is another simple yet effective technique that many people swear by. Once again, it takes mental effort to chew gum, and since you’re also doing something physical, chewing gum can help keep you alert because of the constant action that’s involved. It’s also a lot of fun and it tastes good, so it benefits you in more ways than one!
8. Listen to Some Loud Music
You can’t possibly become too tired when you’re listening to some loud music. Not only should you turn your volume way up, but you should also listen to some raucous music – think heavy metal bands! You may even get a little tense while listening to this type of music – in which case, you can change the channel – but it’s still better than getting too sleepy when you’re trying to drive.
9. Pull Over for a Bit
If you’re feeling restless or sleepy, you can pull into a rest stop and rest up for a bit. Depending on how tired you are, you can either do some stretches, drink a cold drink with caffeine in it, or even stay in your vehicle and take a nap. If you’re too tired, a nap is the perfect idea, but if you just feel like you need a pick-me-up, try the cold drink or the stretching.
10. Turn on a Light
If you have a dome light in your vehicle, or any light that isn’t too large, you can turn it on for a while to keep you awake. Naturally, you can’t have too much light on in a moving vehicle, but just a small amount of light can help a lot. This is another trick recommended by truck drivers.
11. Drink an Energy Drink
Believe it or not, energy drinks do work. They have mega-doses of caffeine and other ingredients to keep you awake, but you also have to be careful because they are loaded with sugar and can actually get you a little too jittery. In fact, energy drinks shouldn’t be drunk very often; this should just be a “once in a while” solution to staying awake.
12. Enjoy Some Comedy
If you have a comedy CD or a radio station that contains stand-up comic routines, try listening to it as you drive. Laughing will definitely keep you awake, and it’s entertaining to boot. This is a simple and fun technique that seems to work because it seems that no one can fall asleep if they’re laughing. And besides, laughing makes you feel good!
13. Open a Window in Your Vehicle
This tends to work because it provides you with a little extra air that can feel quite rejuvenating. You also don’t have to open it wide just to get great results because even small cracks in the windows can go a long way in keeping you awake. Not only does it cool down the temperature inside the vehicle, but it provides a continuous flow of fresh air to keep you alert.
14. Keep Drinking a Lot of Water
Dehydrated bodies get sleepy, and by the time you get thirsty, you may already be starting to dehydrate. Drink enough water so that you won’t get thirsty, and it will go a long way in keeping you awake as well. It also helps if you eat a lot of healthy foods to go along with that water, because both are good at keeping you more alert.
15. Chew on Some Ice Cubes
This is yet another truck-driver’s trick, and they swear that it works. The next time you’re in a store, fill up a cup with ice and chew on it while you’re driving. Between the constant chewing and the cold temperature of the ice, you’ll be surprised by how much more awake you’ll be while driving.
16. Drive with a Partner Whenever Possible
It’s not only more fun to drive with a partner, it is also a great way to keep you more alert. It can even help you pass the time much more quickly, making your trip seem much shorter than it really is. Driving with a partner also means you can start talking anytime you want to – giving you lots of opportunities to keep yourself awake.
17. Never Rush to Your Destination
When you’re driving and trying not to fall asleep at the same time, you might have a tendency to start driving a little faster to get to your destination a little sooner, but this is never a good idea. Rushing to get where you need to go is bad for many reasons, so if you find you’re doing this a little too much, it might be time to stop and rent a hotel room for the night.
18. Wipe Your Face Well with a Wet Cloth
You can also use a wet wipe if you like, but wiping your face with something wet can help you stay awake a lot longer. If the dampness is cold, that’s even better, but as long as the towel is wet, that should do the trick.
19. Avoid Alcohol
Even though alcohol is a stimulant, it can still make you “crash” after you get to a certain point, which is definitely not what you want. Staying away from alcohol also keeps you more level-headed and alert as you drive, not to mention a heck of a lot safer.
20. Get Some Vitamin C Tablets
Vitamin C has been known to keep most people awake, and if you buy the chewable kind it will even taste good. Just pop a few in your mouth every now and then to both stay more alert and to enjoy some yummy orange-tasting goodness.