Updated: Aug 8, 2019
Travel can really create havoc on your sleep patterns. do how do you get the sleep you need without feeling tired? I have some strategies that may help.
Lets start by learning a little about sleep. Humans sleep about 1/3 of our time. Sleep is an essential part of our overall health. Our brain and neurons need sleep so they can communicate well together. They actually stay quite active during sleep. Recent studies show the they help clean up toxins the Brain that accumulated during the day.
Although the biological reason fir sleep sleep is unknown; lack of it affects every tissue and organ in our body.
We we have two basic types of sleep REM which stands for rapid eye movement, and non-REM which. Has it’s own 3 stages. Each stage is linked to certain neurons and brain waves. While sleeping you go through these repeatedly. Non-REM sleep is the stage that helps you feel refreshed in the morning. This article isn’t about the science of sleep as interesting as it is...so I’ll move on.
I do want to mention the circadian rhythm and homeostasis which work together to regulate when you are awake and sleep. They cont the time you sleep night and your tendency to wake in the morning without an alarm (Even on weekends). Your body’s clock, is based on a typicsl 24-hour day, which controls most circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms synchronize with environmental cues such as light and temperature, but they continue even in the absence of cues. You see how time zones and jet-lag can mess your circadian rhythm up.
Homeostasis keeps track of your need for sleep. The homeostatic sleep reminds the body to sleep. This sleep drive gets stronger every hour you are up and moving about your day.
So, when on vacation how do we make sure we are getting the sleep we need? I have some tips.
Days before your trip start to move your bedtime to accommodate your sleep patterns during your travel.
Sync with the local schedule
Once you get were you are going stick to the locals schedule. If it is daylight go out and enjoy it. Of course there is a two day rule. If you are staying two days, keep with your body sleep rhythm, otherwise your body will change in time to leave.
Sleep on the plane
Try to get as much sleep on the plane as you can. This gives your body a chance to re-cop and get ready when you land.
Take turns driving
When your driving with someone take turns. Driving can take an emotional toll, especially when you start feeling tired. Take turns sleeping. If your alone there’s no shame pulling over to catch a few winks before pushing back on.
See the light
if you are landing in the East first thing in the morning when the sun is rising bring sunglasses to minimize the light. It is better to get your maximal light in the late morning or early afternoon. If your landing in the West it’s better to get sun it’s best to get the mist sun in the early evening. I know, this sounds a little odd, but it is for a reason. This practice helps recalibrate your internal clock so that it’s closer to bedtime at your destination.
get up, take a shower then head outside to get some excersize. This tells your body it’s tome to get Going. Increasing your core body temperature triggers your circadian rhythm.
As a last resort you can purchase melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone our body produces about two hours before bedtime. If your having trouble falling asleep you can buy melatonin non-prescription in doses up to 10 mg. It will help your body produce its own melatonin. It’s not a cure all, daylight is a better way to change you circadian rhythm, but may help in a pinch.