Travel Tips for Great Sleep

by admin on June 16, 2011 · 0 comments

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As summer approaches, our thoughts turn to travel and having fun, either with family or to see a new exciting place. Don’t forget to take your good sleep habits along as you are packing your suitcase. Sleep can be the difference between a very enjoyable trip and one fraught with irritability and frustration. Although it’s seldom considered an essential as we pack our suitcases, and requires taking very little along, sleep just needs just a bit of extra mindful packing. Here are some tips to make that trip transition the fun and easy outing you had planned:

1. Think ahead about how many time zones you’ll be crossing and how fast. If you’re flying and crossing two time zones or more, you will experience the most circadian rhythm change. Plan for a day of recuperation from these changes to the light/dark cycle of the day.

If you’ve experienced jet lag from your flights in the past, and this is different for each person, but nearly universal for those crossing five or more time zones, here are some tips from Dr. Robert Sack of the Oregon Health Sciences Center in the New England Journal of Medicine:

• Best ways to re-set your circadian clock are timed exposure to sunlight (for staying awake when you would normally be asleep), melatonin (for going to sleep when you would normally
be awake) or a combination of both;

• Check with your doctor to be sure melatonin will not interfere with any of your currently prescribed medications; melatonin is the most well-studied substance natural to the body, and for most has very few, if any side effects;

• For travelling east, get out in the sun on arrival and have your favorite source of caffeine;

• For travelling west, bright light in the evening will help you stay up and then, if you are wide awake during sleep time, a low dose of melatonin should help;

Some additional tips for the time of travel itself:

•Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate during your flight as cabin air tends to dehydrate us, which contributes to fatigue; also, getting up to get the water once an hour helps us walk around and avoid problems with thrombosis;

• Avoid caffeine and alcohol during your flight which tend to enhance the jet lag;

• Schedule your sleep to fit the new time zone, even if it means some daytime naps after you arrive.

Bon voyage!

Would you like more sleep travel tips?

Sign up for my free travel sleep tips tele-class on June 25 at 1pm Central.

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