When we travel it can be especially difficult to get to sleep so that we are well rested for the next day. Whether we are dealing with jet lag, an uncomfortable hotel room, late work hours or a classic case of travel insomnia, a good night sleep can be difficult to achieve. Without a sufficient night’s rest, we can experience decreases in our attention span, drowsiness, daytime fatigue and headaches…not to mention, irritability and moodiness. None of these make for a very productive business trip.
As a result, taking certain measures to ensure you get to sleep will be instrumental in helping you feel well rested for whatever the next day ahead brings.
- Ban Stimulants after 2:30: Avoid consuming food or drinks containing sugar and/or caffeine after 2:30pm. Caffeine, especially, can make it difficult to get to sleep and possibly cause you to wake-up in the middle of the night. Each person has different tolerances and reactions to these substances, but for the most part, avoiding them is safest to feel well rested the next day.
- Create a Perfect Sleep Environment:Our hotel room is technically our home away from home when traveling. Here are a few things to remember in order to maximize your environment for shut-eye:
- Most hotel rooms provide blackout curtains to block outside light from pouring into the room. Close them before going to bed.
- Choose a room that is optimally located so that you are isolated from noise (check out our optimal hotel room guide)
- Keep temperatures moderate. If it is too hot or too cold in your hotel room, your REM cycles can be disrupted. During REM, we lose some of our own ability to regulate our body temperature…so keeping the room at a comfortable temperature is important.
- Use your “Do Not Disturb” sign to ward off unwanted disruptions too early in the morning.
- Pre-Dreamland Activities to Enjoy: To feel well rested, you need to get a solid night of shuteye without lots of distractions that can wake you up. As a result, it pays to create a relaxation ritual which will help you get to sleep and snooze more soundly. Some things to consider include drinking herbal tea, taking a bath, listening to soothing music, getting a massage in the hotel spa, dimming lights an hour or two before bed-time, and writing down your “have-tos” for the next day.
- Stick to a Schedule: Although you may cross timezones, maintaining a schedule for night-time is crucial to getting enough sleep so you feel well rested. Try to get to sleep and wake up at the same times every day. This will help your biological clock stay on track.
- Exercise in the Morning: It is harder to get to sleep right after exercise because it takes a couple of hours for our bodies to calm down from activity and relax. Instead, use exercise as a natural wake-up call after you are well rested.
- Avoid Excessive Alcohol: When we travel for business, especially, alcohol can become a big part of the equation. Client dinners and events can cause us to overindulge. Unfortunately, alcohol can deprive you of REM and deeper more restorative stages of sleep. As a result you are more easily awakened and won’t feel as well rested the next morning.
- Don’t Smoke: If you are a smoker you really wont like this tip. Unfortunately, however, the reality is that heavy smoking can cause you to sleep very lightly, reduce duration of REM sleep and cause you to wake up every three or four hours of sleep due to nicotine withdrawal. Smoking will inevitably have a negative impact on your ability to feel well rested in the morning.
Do you have any other tips to help one get to sleep so that they feel well rested in the morning?