Flying across time zones changes our natural day-night cycle or circadian rhythm. Our internal clock becomes out of sync with our current day-night cycle. Our circadian rhythm is disrupted and influences when we sleep and the quantity and the quality of our sleep. In this article, we will discuss several tips to help you get a good night’s sleep while traveling.
Before the flight, take steps to ensure you’ll get adequate sleep while traveling.
- Plan ahead. Set time aside to pack your luggage, finish work and family affairs, confirm flight and hotel reservations, print your boarding pass, and arrive to the airport on time. Leaving things to the last-minute increases stress and may cause a late-night bedtime.
- Be sleep-ready. Get a sleep kit ready to go and leave it in your carry-on bag. Ear plugs, eye covers, some of your favorite music, and perhaps a vial of lavender oil.
- Exercise and eat right the day before your trip to give yourself an edge for a good night’s rest.
5 Essential Tips to Remember
1. Modify Your Sleep
It is important to tailor your sleep a couple of days before leaving to prepare yourself for the impact of a new time zone. This includes tailoring your bedtime, a couple days before departure, to that of your new time zone. Doing this will shift your eating habits and ensure that you will be ready to tackle the new time change.
2. Stay Hydrated
In high altitude, your body and skin will likely get dehydrated. It is important to ensure that you increase your liquid intake about 24-48 hours before departure. During your flight, don’t depend on the beverage cart for water. Bring a large water bottle of your own to stay hydrated as well. This will prevent fatigue when you wake up from the rest on the plane.
3. Reduce Stimuli
It’s best to reduce the number of stimuli that you have while attempting to sleep on the plane or in your hotel on the first night. This includes restricting your use of television, computers and smartphone about an hour to an hour and a half before going to bed. You can go to bed with music but it’s best to play music that isn’t distracting or loud. Rock music, for example, may not be the best music to go to sleep to because it will activate certain aspects of your brain that will disrupt sleep.
4. Dress the Part
When you are traveling and sleeping on the plane, it’s best to dress for the part before departure. If you have an air flight that is longer than two and a half hours, dress in sweatpants, short sleeves and a hoodie or sweatshirt. The key here is comfort over fashion, or even a happy medium of both. It is important to ensure that your body is comfortable enough for you to get some rest.
5. Focus on What You Eat
What you eat will largely influence how you feel during the flight and how you will be able to sleep. If you are eating heavy foods, it will weight down on your stomach and your body will focus its energy to digestion not rest. Instead, eat a decent sized meal before your long flight and snack during the flight until in-flight meals are provided. This will ensure that if you do get some sleep, you will be able to wake up refreshed.
Schedule a Consultation
If you have trouble getting sleep while traveling, consult your physician for treatment options. Our team will discuss and review your treatment options in order find the perfect option for you. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Shukla today, for treatment options.