Feb 24, 2015
Business travel can be a mental and physical drain, from preparation to commute. Mapping out new territories, meeting with colleagues and other realities of corporate travel can leave sleep low on the priority list of any business traveler. You’ll find that a good night’s sleep is a requirement if you’re going to handle day-to-day work obligations. To help you sleep better when traveling for business, we’ve prepared a few sleeping tips that will get you through the most grueling itineraries.
Study after study shows that a consistent bedtime and wake-up time is the foundation of healthy sleep. The National Sleep Foundation even recommends following a regular sleep schedule to live a happier, healthier life. That applies to business travel, too. Incorporating specific sleep times into your schedule may be the motivation you need to stick to them. You may reconsider an after-work activity if you know it heavily conflicts with your sleep schedule. If you do find yourself having a late night for either business or leisure, try to adjust your schedule to accommodate this. Life happens.
Flashing notification lights, vibrations, chirps, dings and more—ask yourself: “Do I truly need to be this accessible at 3am?” It’s a fact that humans sleep more soundly in complete darkness and silence. Take control of your devices to get more uninterrupted sleep during business travel. Turn off your phone, silence it or put it on Do Not Disturb mode. Use the next morning to review any materials you’ll need for the day instead of letting it cut into your sleep.
As a business traveler, you might not get enough sleep. Your mind and body will appreciate any attempt to catch up. This includes one of the most underestimated sleeping tips: the power nap. Find pockets of time, whether it’s during your flight, between meetings, after work before a business dinner, etc. to get 15-30 minutes of rest. Power naps have been shown to improve alertness and motor skills, even more so than drinking a cup of coffee. If a full nap isn’t feasible, just close your eyes in a quiet space.
Our sleep hygiene is closely tied to our exposure to light. Ever wonder why you can’t sleep in on a bright morning? It’s the sunlight shining into your bedroom. These days, it’s not just the sun or your bedside lamp exposing you to light – it’s your phone, tablet and laptop screens. The Cleveland Clinic points out three ways in which screen usage before bed interrupts sleep: it keeps your mind psychologically engaged, the blue light from the screen suppresses melatonin (a hormone that regulates your sleep/wake cycle) and it can lead to distracting emotions, thoughts and anxiety that delay REM sleep. Sleep disorder specialist Dr. Harneet Walia, consulted in the article, recommends cutting off your screen time one hour before bed.
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