Where Do Truck Drivers Sleep?

October 22, 2021

You probably see truckers on the road all the time, but have you ever given a thought to where they sleep? It might seem strange for some, but not all truck drivers get to go home to sleep every night.

In fact, having spoken to hundreds of truck drivers through my career as a freight broker, I can tell you that one of the top concerns of truck drivers on a daily basis is trying to find a safe place to slide their truck into park and catch some Z's. 

If you've ever been on a long road trip yourself, you might have experienced the same feelings of doubt and uncertainty.

So, where Do Truck Drivers Sleep?

Truck drivers who have to spend their nights on the road sleep in sleeper cabs. Sleeper cabs are small compartments or cabins that are just behind the driver’s seat.  Compartments can accommodate a small to mid size mattress. Larger cabins contain amenities like sinks, tables and even showers to ensure that a truck driver can feel at home while on the road.

That might sound like a luxury, and you would be right in thinking that because not all drivers have access to the convenience of just getting up from their drivers seat and stepping into their private mobile home.

Legacy sleeper cabins contain other amenities like sinks, tables, benches and more to make drivers feel more at home.

Do All Truck Drivers Sleep In Their Trucks?

It is easy to assume that all the trucks you see are coming from a far distance and going to a far distance. This isn’t always the case. In fact, many trucks just operate locally.

Not all truck drivers sleep in their trucks because those who operate locally can simply go home to rest. The only truck drivers that get to sleep in their trucks are those that have to travel over the night. We call these truckers over the road (OTR) drivers and they go on long haul journeys spanning miles every day.

You can tell an OTR truck from a day truck by checking if there’s enough space behind the front seats of the truck.

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What’s Inside A Sleeper Cab

Sleeper cabs are outfitted with sleeping and eating amenities. This cab features a dining room with fold down mattress for driver's to sleep while on break.

Sleeper cab compartments are usually very small. But truck manufacturers often try as best as they can to make the little space as comfortable as possible. For someone who hasn’t been in a sleeper cab before, you can only make guesses at how comfortable a tiny little space can be. But you’d be surprised at how much functional and aesthetic elements can be crammed into such a tiny space.

You’ll find that the sleeper cab of a truck contains a full-size mattress with pillows. These come with sheets, and that takes care of the bedding. Other items you may find in the sleeper cab of a truck include a television, a little refrigerator cooler, a gaming console, grooming equipment, a thermos flask, an entertainment system, and more. 

Apart from the bedding, however, the other items in the sleeper truck differ depending on the manufacturer, the preferences of the driver, and how much the truck company is willing to invest in the comfort of their drivers.

Here are some actual images of what a sleeper cab might look like:

Truckers sleep in small compartments behind the driver's cockpit of the truck. This is an exterior view of a truckers cabin.

Truckers can sleep in small compartments behind the drivers seat that can fit a small mattress.

Do Sleeper Cabs Come With Toilets?

Having read what truck drivers have in those mystery sleeper cabs of theirs, you may begin to wonder if these little compartments have even more things. Things like showers, sinks, or even toilets. So, do sleeper cabs have these things?

Some sleeper cabins do come with toilets, sinks, or showers. So fortunately for some drivers, they don’t have to pull over every time they need to relieve themselves. There’s just enough room for a portable toilet in the sleeper cab where truckers can do their business. And there are special additives that help to break down the waste and limit the odor.

But if there’s no toilet available, truck drivers can always use the facilities at truck stops. And if they aren’t close to any truck stops, they’re going to have to get creative by stopping at local eateries, gas stations or good old mother nature.

Some truck driver sleeping quarters come with amenities like sinks, stoves, ovens, toilets and more

What Locations Can Truck Drivers Sleep?

Truck drivers don’t just park by the roadside and snore off. It isn’t safe for them or what goods they carry in their trailer. And if you’re thinking truck drivers sleep in hotels or motels, you’re wrong. 

Truck drivers sleep in their sleeper cabins at truck stops. Otherwise, they spend the nights at company facilities close to their delivery sites, or rest areas on the way to their final distinctions. But we recommend that truck drivers plan for rest locations before they even start their journey.

Some large retail outlets like Walmart allow truck driver's to take a sleeping break in their parking lot. Just be sure to do research and obey any posted signs about truck idling and resting on private property.

Why Don’t Truckers Sleep In Hotels?

Truckers try to avoid hotels because they add expensive and unnecessary costs to a load.  In addition, driver's are on a strict schedule and need to avoid any time delays such as packing and checking in & out, which can effect a driver's arrival for loading and unloading appointments.  

Truck drives choose to not sleep in hotels for many reasons. The first is that hotels can be unnecessarily expensive for one night. And the less money they spend on luxuries like hotels, the more they get to keep for themselves. Another reason truck drivers don't sleep in hotels is that there aren’t usually large enough parking spaces to park their trucks.

The stress and the time it takes to check-in and out of a hotel is also another reason truck drivers stay away from hotels. Considering all these, you may agree that it’s way easier to pull into a truck stop and catch some Z's.

How Many Hours Of Sleep Do Truck Drivers Get?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) under the Hours of Service rules mandates that truck drivers only drive up to 11 hours after an off-duty break that lasts for 10 consecutive hours. 

Ten hours seem like a lot of time to rest, sleep, and do a lot of other fun things, right? Wrong! This is because truck drivers rarely have these 10 hours to themselves alone.

Truck drivers still have to take the time out of their 10 hours of break to load, unload, and sign all sorts of documents. And this might last for as long as 4 hours. Still out of the 10-hour break, the truck driver has to eat, ease themselves if they need to, and still search suitable spots in parking areas. All these could take up another 1-2 hours, leaving the truck driver with nothing more than 5 hours of sleep.


If you are a truck driver, now you have some insight as to what you can expect when you choose to adopt the trucker lifestyle as your own.  We hope you know now where truck driver sleeps and that you have answers to other sleep-related questions that have to do with truckers. 

By the way, truckers are generally happy and friendly people. But if you happen to see a grumpy truck driver, don’t be quick to judge them as un-friendly. They’ve probably not had enough sleep and have been away from their homes for a while.

About the author

I’m Luis Uribe, author of this website. I am the owner and head publisher for Trucker Daily and a freight brokerage Total Connection Logistics. I have been in and around the trucking industry for over 15 years. It is my mission with Trucker daily to equip truck drivers, with the latest in industry updates, news, and helpful tips to help further your trucking career and life. Whether you are a truck driving veteran, or beginner, you will find information on this site to save you a lot of time in your driving journey.

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