by Richard Shane, Ph.D.
(NAPSI)—Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you don’t have to let fatigue, jet lag or aggravation from dealing with the transportation system keep you from feeling your best. Here are five steps toward better sleep, a better trip and even better productivity and relationships.
- Create optimal conditions to support good sleep. If you’re on a plane, train or bus, try to get a window seat if possible; it will give you something to lean against and you won’t have to move each time neighbors need the bathroom. When you stop for the night, ask for a cool, quiet room, at least two or three levels above banquet rooms, bars or other public spaces and away from elevators. Look to book a room with blackout shades or heavy, thick curtains that keep the light out. Make sure everything is ready for the next day so you don’t lie awake worrying about it.
- Dealing with time zones. If you’re crossing multiple time zones, try to arrange meetings, parties and major sightseeing for when it’s midday in your home time.
- Get set with supplies. Handy items can include:
- A supportive neck pillow in a U shape
- Soft silicone earplugs or noise-canceling earphones
- A blanket
- A white noise app or a playlist of your favorite music to snooze to on your phone.
- When you get to your destination, try to expose yourself to the light during the waking hours as much as possible during the first couple of days. Avoid caffeine at least four to six hours before bedtime and have dinner at least three hours before you want to sleep. Bear in mind that although alcohol may initially make you drowsy, when its sedating properties wear off, the rebound can contribute to you awakening too early, making it more difficult to fall back to sleep.
- Whether away or at home, you’ll sleep better if you stop the use of electronic devices 30 minutes before bed. The light from these devices signals your brain that it is still daytime, which interferes with your brain’s production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you feel sleepy. In fact, slow down in general during that last half hour. Read something calming, listen to quiet music, take a bath, stretch a little. Don’t watch anything too stimulating on television, especially the news. Put your cell phone in “Do not disturb” or “Airplane” mode.
- Dr. Shane is a licensed psychotherapist and sleep therapist who developed the Sleep Easily Method. Based on cognitive behavioral therapy, it walks you through five physical triggers to gently lead you into sleep. You can find further facts and advice at www.drshane.com and www.sleepeasily.com.