Sleepy During Car Rides? Find Out Why

It’s not unusual for drivers to look over and observe passengers nodding off, their heads softly bouncing against the door glass. Drivers may find themselves fighting fatigue at times. Sleepiness is a frequent sensation when driving for an extended period of time. There is a cause why you feel sleepy during drives.

The Cause of your Sleepiness During Car Journeys

The soothing rocking motion of the automobile can make you sleepy. If you are fatigued, sleep experts believe that rocking or slow, moderate motions will help you fall asleep. 

This is similar to how your parents rocked you to sleep when you were a newborn. It may bring back recollections of being in your mother’s womb and feeling sleepy. 

The automobile engine makes a smooth and steady humming noise when you are driving. This is referred to by sleep professionals as white noise. It is a form of dull, persistent noise that appears to aid sleep. Many parents use white noise to help their newborns sleep. White noise is also used by some adults to help them feel sleepy.

Sleep specialists aren’t sure why newborn babies appear to quiet down and go asleep when exposed to white noise. However, the hum of an automobile engine in motion is a sort of white noise.

Ways to Stay Alert During Long Drives

Here are some precautions to safeguard yourself and others on the road if you must drive.

✔️ Consume Something Caffeinated

If you can stomach it, consume your coffee dark, whether you prepare it at home or buy it on the go. The bitterness of the coffee will deliver a brief shock prior to the caffeine entering your circulation. 

Staying hydrated is also important for staying alert. Consume lots of water. Also, caffeine will increase your attentiveness for a few hours.

✔️ Consume Healthy Snacks

Keep snacks on hand, but make certain they aren’t simply empty calories. Snacks with minimal sugar and high protein manage to transfer energy more steadily and evenly, rather than a rush ensued by a food coma.

A chocolate bar may provide a temporary energy boost, but you may collapse quickly. 

To avoid the rise, choose a nutritious, protein-rich snack like nuts. Fast food and chips are high in fat, salt, and sugar, which causes fatigue.

✔️ Bring a Friend

A road buddy is most likely the finest thing you can bring on a vacation. Allow your companion to DJ or speak with you during the journey, but especially allow your friend to keep you honest when the sheep start jumping above. 

Consider listening to audiobooks together. Invite a companion along for the ride to keep you company. Chatting will keep you attentive, and you may swap drivers every couple of hours, allowing you to close your eyes and relax throughout the lengthy trip.

✔️ Be Cool

Warm, comfortable temperatures are linked with the coming of the Sandman, so hold the car a few degrees cooler than your optimal temperature. Of course, not enough to make it too unpleasant. 

Widening a window for a whiff of fresh air might also help you stay alert. Roll down the windows to shock your body with chilly air, making you feel more awake. 

Just bear in mind that your body will grow used to it, so just use it as a temporary cure until you can pull over. These mental tactics will speed up the drive.

✔️ Take a Rest

Make time for a break-even if you’re running tardily and have a prolonged stretch of driving ahead of you. When the landscape begins to lull you to sleep, pull over, preferably at a rest stop. 

It is always preferable to come late rather than never at all. Give yourself a breather every two hours or so by pulling into a rest area to stretch your legs. 

Even if you don’t have time to close your eyes while you’re parked, the difference in pace will improve your spirits and hold you attentive when you resume your journey.

✔️ Don’t Drive after Midnight

Between 12 a.m. and 2 a.m., your biological clock desires sleep the most. And 6 a.m., so you’ll be more tired than ever if you drive during those hours.

Try to arrive at your destination early in the night and allow yourself a full night’s rest before departing. Don’t drive if you normally sleep or if sleeping is seductive.

✔️ Stay Away from Alcohol

Even if you’re under the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers, don’t drink before getting behind the wheel. Even tiny amounts of alcohol might cause a sleepy feeling. Avoid sleepy drugs and avoid drinking alcohol.

Ideas for a Safe and Comfortable Road Trip

Are you headed for a road trip yet always getting snoozy? This sleepy problem doesn’t have to ruin your chance for a fun and comfortable joy ride. Below, we discussed some tips to help you combat the issue:

Get Lots of Rest 

The main reason why you get sleepy during car rides is that you didn’t sleep enough the night prior. So if you have a trip scheduled, you must ensure that you get at least six to seven hours of slumber to prepare your body and keep your energy high during the day.

During your car ride, it’s also important to schedule short stops. If the trip will happen overnight, make sure that you map out pit stops where you and your company can have naps. 

The recommended schedule is to make stops every 150 miles. And if possible, avoid hitting the road from 1 pm to 3 pm because these are siesta periods, which will make you feel sleepy and sluggish.

Make a Plan

The best thing you can do to improve your trip’s safety is to prepare ahead of time. Most long-distance journeys are planned months in advance. This allows you to plan your journey in advance. 

Begin by deciding on your intended path. Make a list of other routes in case road work or an accident closes your primary route. Many smartphone apps let you bookmark routes for quick access. You should also create a thorough map or atlas of your trip. 

Look for natural halting locations while planning your trip. Choose a few stops for each day of your journey and research housing, gasoline, and food in those locations. You may tailor each day of your vacation to your preferences by selecting different stopover points. 

If you are particularly fatigued one day, you can stop at your first indicated place instead of trying to reach a destination that is many hours away.

Pack More than the Necessities

On every journey, it’s critical to carry a tire changing kit and tool kit in your vehicle. Longer excursions, meanwhile, need more than just the basic auto care necessities. 

Packing for unforeseen weather and automobile breakdowns is advised by experts. If you’re trapped by the side of the road, sunscreen, and a wide-brimmed hat can help keep you feel secure from the sun. Bring thermal underwear and air-activated hand or foot warmers for cold-weather travel. 

If your vehicle dies down, you should have an auto emergency kit on hand. Include first-aid items, jumper cables, a tire inflator, duct tape, and road flares in your box. Pack flashlights and headlamps in the issue you need to replace a tire or maintain your car late at night.

Examine Your Vehicle

A common blunder on a long travel is failing to prepare your car. When you’re on the highway, the last thing you want is a mechanical problem that might have been prevented. 

Before you start driving, experts advise going to a repair shop for periodic maintenance and a tune-up. A week before your vacation, take your automobile to a reputable technician. 

This allows your technician to examine your car and perform any required repairs before you go. Before leaving the shop, make sure your automobile has had its oil changed, tires rotated, and fluids topped off.

Maintain Vigilance

The temptation to glance at your phone or other distractions while driving is stronger the longer you’re on the road. The longer you drive, the more easily you lose attention and allow your thoughts to wander. The monotony of a lengthy stretch of roadway might fool you into thinking you’re safe. 

This is one of the worst moments to be diverted by your phone or anything else. Your mind is already less awake after expending so much time on the road than when you first start driving. When you factor in your phone, your odds of getting into an accident skyrocket.

Pullover and take a break if you are tempted to glance at your phone or notice your thoughts wandering from the road. Roll the windows down and let in some fresh air if stopping isn’t an alternative, such as on a long, windy mountain route. 

Even with air conditioning, the inside of your automobile might get stuffy, leading to fatigue or distracted driving. The fresh air makes you more aware when driving.

Pause and Stretch

It’s simple to force oneself to keep driving. As a result, there are increased distractions and sleepy driving. Stop every couple of hours to be refreshed and comfortable on the road. 

The second reason to pull over and take a break is to inspect your vehicle. Take a stroll around your vehicle every time you stop for gas or a potty break. Take great care of your tires.

Things to Pack for a Long Drive

There are road trip essentials for both you and your vehicle while planning a road trip. To have a safe long trip, you must be prepared and pack all of the required items.

Tangible Map

A paper map like this is essential for any successful car trip. Google Maps and other smartphone applications are fantastic. But what happens when you lose connectivity in distant areas and your maps aren’t downloaded? 

The capacity to obtain step-by-step instructions also vanishes. Use the apps, but also keep a physical map handy. Instead of just one location, get a map with highways, landmarks, and information for a whole region. It’s ideal for those unexpected fancies along the route.


Snacks are, of course, something to pack for a lengthy vehicle trip. Especially if you’re going to be in rural places for an ample period of time. Some people are extremely fussy eaters who dislike fast food and gas station meals. 

Instead, have protein bars, almonds, apples, and other nutritious snacks in your car at all times. Of course, everyone has other favorite food. Get some healthy snacks with you, such as carrots, almonds, or berries.

Eating high-sodium potato chips might cause bloating and make you feel crumby.

Water Bottle

A water bottle is one of the essential items to pack on a road trip. There is no sense to waste superfluous plastic or pay for bottled water. A smart travel water bottle can keep you hydrated while also reducing waste.


A lighter is another item to bring along on a road trip. You never know when you’ll require a lighter, and they’re a low-cost investment. This is a must-have if you plan on going camping. You may also cook s’mores now.

Extra Blanket

Consider bringing a blanket with you on a road trip with children. Blankets are useful if you’re taking a journey with children and want to keep them comfy. Even if you are not traversing with children, a few blankets are useful for the unknown. 

A down quilt is designed for trekking backpackers who are concerned with weight and space. As a result, it makes an excellent blanket for road trips. It’s warm, soft, and comfortable, yet it takes up smaller space in your backpack, so you’ll be comfy.


Tissues are always useful to have in the car since they may be used to clean a runny nose, as a napkin, or to wipe perspiration off your brow. Worst-case plan, a roadside restroom with no toilet paper.


Bring sunscreen on any vacation, well, practically any trip. However, some places do not necessitate the use of sunscreen.

First Aid

On-road vacations, always have a first-aid kit. You may never use it, but it’s reassuring to know that you have band-aids, gloves, and disinfectant on hand in case of an emergency.

Road Side Emergency Kit

This varies per state, province, and nation, but in many countries, triangle reflectors or a vest are vital road trip needs to carry. It also never hurts to be equipped with items such as a spare tire, extra oil, zip ties, coolant, tools, an air compressor, or fresh wiper blades. 

Of course, it all relies on where you’re driving and what you’re driving. In a fresh new car traveling around big cities, it’s probably safe to leave the tools at home.

Rain Jacket

A rain jacket is an absolute must-have for any road trip. There’s no excuse not to carry one in your day bag when they’re so simple and light to pack. 

When trekking, you should always be prepared for the possibility of rain. Getting wet and rained on when hiking a mountain is unpleasant, but it may also be dangerous in cold weather.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do I feel sleepy while driving?

A: The main reason you’re sleepy or tired behind the wheel, much alone falling asleep, is a lack of sleep.

Q: When you fall asleep or feel sleepy in the vehicle, what do you call it?

A: Carcolepsy is a condition in which a passenger falls asleep as soon as the automobile begins to move. Although it is not a recognized medical term, the reason for carcolepsy has evaded thousands of people who can’t manage to remain awake once they get inside a moving vehicle.

Q: Can you drive after only 5 hours of sleep?

A: Driving after less than five hours of sleep is equivalent to driving drunk. According to a new study, drivers who sleep for fewer than five hours treble their chance of crashing.

Q: Is it safe for me to drive if I am sleepy?

A: Sleep deprivation has been shown to have four major effects on driving ability: It decreases coordination. It results in prolonged reaction times. It hinders decision-making.

Q: How far is too far for a car trip?

A: When planning a road trip, aim for no more than 6 hours of driving every day, or 500 miles. If you want to travel additional miles, try splitting it up over two days or splitting the driving between numerous drivers.

Final Thoughts

The bumpy motion is the primary cause of sleepiness during car travel. This is comparable to how your parents rocked you to sleep like a baby. Before embarking on a lengthy road journey, it is essential to be aware of the necessary measures. 

You must also be aware of the important items to pack in order to prevent any hazards along the journey and be prepared for them.

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