A Sleep Plan for Travel

The following information has been taken from Sleep Savvy Magazine (May/June 2015):  written by Lissa Coffey.  Some items have been condensed to allow for space.

As summer vacation time approaches, the following helpful sleep strategies should help you rest soundly while away from home.

Dry as Dust

Dry air in airplanes and hotel rooms can lead to headaches, dry skin and dehydration.  An arid atmosphere also creates conditions for cold and flu germs to spread easily.  All of these can cause us to lose sleep.  To prevent this from happening, tuck aerosol water into your carry case to spritz on your face during the flight.  Also consider packing a saline nasal spray.  This helps to keep your nasal passages moist.  Purchase a bottle of room temperature water (not cold) to take on board or select an herb tea from the beverage cart if available.  Avoid alcoholic beverages as well as carbonated or caffeinated drinks.  Once at your hotel destination, open a window rather then use the air conditioning and set out cups of water in the room to hydrate the air.

Off Balance

Motion sickness can happen in any travel situation when you lose your equilibrium or balance.  A signal goes from our inner ear to our brain that something is out of whack and the sensory input from our eyes does not match up.  It makes us feel dizzy, nauseous and generally bad.  Make sure you get plenty of sleep before you embark on your journey.  You are better able to handle turbulence if you are well rested.  If you are driving, make sure to stop every couple of hours and take a short walk.  If you are on a plane or a ship, try to do some leg exercises to keep blood circulating.  And you can chew on candied ginger to help with nausea.

Jet Lag

Jet lag happens when we travel quickly across time zones.  Our internal biorhythms get out of sync with the time at our new destination.  Jet lag is worse traveling from west to east because it is harder to advance our sleep time than to delay it.  Before your trip, try to adjust your sleep patterns to the time of your destination and when you arrive, try to get some exercise.  Daylight can help reset your internal clock so try to take an early morning walk and spend as much time as possible outdoors those first few days.  Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar – stimulants can intensify the effects of jet lag.

It isn’t Home

Unfamiliar surroundings can make us feel uncomfortable which can make it difficult to relax and get to sleep.  Ask for a hotel room away from the elevator and ice machine.  Make sure the drapes are pulled shut to make the room darker.  Consider taking your own pillow or alarm clock to feel more at home.

 

 

 

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