Traveling can wreck havoc on your body in so many ways but today I want to focus on sleep.
When we are well rested our bodies are able to function optimally. Sleep is a powerful medicine a quality nights sleep will improve your mood, your concentration, your immunity and will equip you with the tools to be a better decision maker. All of these things are critically important whilst traveling. Different time zones, different foods, different mattress and pillow and different climate all effect your bodies ability to have a restful sleep. Your body is going to be hella confused no matter what but there are a few things you can do to ensure you’re giving your body what it needs.
I wont limit this to only travellers, all of these tips can be used by anyone who is struggling to catch the ZzZz train.
Things to avoid.
Caffeine can be tempting when you’re feeling flat out exhausted or during long travel days but be mindful of your consumption. Over compensating with caffeine is going to do more harm than good. It stimulates production of stress hormones and inhibits absorption of hormones that gives us a sense of calm.
Alcohol is a depressant and it may seem like an easy way to fall asleep however it interferes with your REM sleep which is your deepest most restful sleep state. The quality of sleep will be very poor so even if you get your 8 hours in you will still feel unrested in the morning.
Nicotine is a stimulant so best to avoid in the hours leading up to bed time and quite obviously best to avoid all together if you can. Stimulants keep you alert and are the culprits that keep your mind active at night.
If you must Siesta during the day set your alarm for 20 minutes time and never any longer than 40 minutes. This is the optimal amount of time to recharge your batteries. If you sleep longer you risk moving into the next sleep state, when interrupted from a deeper sleep you will feel more tired and irritable and it will make falling asleep much more difficult at bed time.
Things to incorporate.
Chamomile tea: Camomile is mildly sedating and has relaxation properties.
Lavender: This aroma has been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure, putting you in a more relaxed state. Having oils or candles in your room can be a calming part of your bedtime routine and will help you to wake up feeling revitalised.
Fresh sheets: Sliding into a bed with freshly washed sheets is a very inviting feeling and will help you to feel more comfortable. Try washing your sheets with a dash of lavender oil. This is maybe not so easy whilst traveling but none the less some great advice.
Have a warm shower: Your body becomes more relaxed as your temperature elevates slightly. Having a warm shower or bath before bed will prepare you for a restful sleep. You can also use lavender oil here.
Yoga for better sleep.
Butterfly Pose (BaddhaKonasana): This pose can help remove fatigue from long hours of standing or walking. This is also a good pose to stretch your inner thighs, groin and knees.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana): A pose that contains such magic. Relieves tension in the spine, neck, and back, calms the mind and soothes the nerves, reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
Child Pose (Balasana): A deep and relaxing stretch for the back which helps calm the nervous system. Stay here for a minimum of 3 minutes or however long you feel.
Corpse Pose (Shavasana): helps to relax the entire system and should be the last pose of any bed time sequence. Feel yourself drift off into a peaceful, restful sleep.
Breathe with long, full, deep and even inhalations and exhalations.
Some more tips.
Optimal sleeping temperature is 22 degrees celsius, a slightly cool room induces sleep. If your room becomes uncomfortably hot or cold, you are more likely to wake up.
Make sure the room is quiet and dark. Avoid your computer screen, phone screen, tv screen and other forms of artificial light. The more time spent in front of these things the harder it is to drift off to sleep.
Keep the bed just for sleep. Avoid using your laptop, Ipad, phone or watching TV in bed. Even if you enjoy reading before bed time try to sit somewhere nearby rather than in bed so when you feel yourself falling tired you are able to take yourself straight to bed. This also reinforces the fact and tells your body that “when I am lying down in bed it is time to sleep”. If you do not have issues falling asleep whilst reading, this is fine. This tip is for those of you who have a hard time falling asleep.
Remember, results are the effect of action. Consider this your bed time action plan. It is easy to procrastinate but spending 15 minutes preparing yourself for a restful sleep is 15 minutes better spent than wriggling around staring at the ceiling.
THANK YOU FOR READING.
Tell me about some tips of your own. What helps you to fall asleep?
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