As the holiday season kicks in, there’s one more thing you need to consider on your checklist and that’s your sleep.
From unfamiliar environments to irregular bedtimes and the biggest culprit, jet lag, your sleep can get disrupted in many ways when you’re away from your own bed – though some of us actually get better sleep when we’re in a different bed but that’s a whole different story!
Try the following tips for getting a good night’s sleep when you are on holiday:
• You can’t take your bed with you but if it’s possible, take your pillow. Not only is it familiar but it may provide the right comfort and support, allowing you to get a better night’s sleep.
• Check the temperature. Many hotel rooms set temperature so make sure it suits you. The right temperature for sleep is between 16-18 degrees.
• If you think outside noise or light might bother you take some ear plugs and an eye mask.
• Make the bed a ‘sleep zone’ and don’t use it for anything else.
• When you return to your hotel room/caravan/tent etc, start your wind down routine as normal and spend at least 15 minutes relaxing.
• Try to keep to regular hours as much as possible especially if you have children.
Here are some helpful tips for dealing with jet lag:
• The day before your flight, ensure you eat three balanced meals, including at least five servings of fruit or green vegetable and one of protein-rich food eg white fish or tofu.
• During the flight set your watch to the local time at your destination. Note what extraordinary time the airline feeds you and try to keep back a roll or biscuit to eat at “normal” mealtimes according to the time at your destination.
• Take an eye mask and ear plugs with you. Use the mask and your seat’s nightlight to reflect the time at your destination – wear the mask if it is night time where you are going; keep the light on and mask off if it is day time.
• Drink plenty of water throughout the flight to prevent dehydration and also to help mobilise your energy reserves for your arrival. Avoid alcohol.
• Take regular walks up and down the aisle. Try some simple stretching exercises in your seat – straighten your legs and point and flex your toes; or stretch your arms high above your head. Do both these exercises for one minute every two hours.
• When you arrive at your destination use your diet to help you control your wakefulness: high protein meals increase your alertness; high carbohydrate meals will make you feel more sleepy.
• Daylight can help reset your internal clock, so take an early morning walk when you wake up in your new destination and spend as much time as possible outdoors.