Adequate sleep is essential to maintain normal energy and mood levels throughout the day and has a profound effect on one’s ability to function both physically and mentally.
Sticking to a healthy sleep schedule can be a challenge for many considering different time zones and beds of varying sizes and consistencies.
Here are some tips to maintain better sleep habits in order to achieve a good night’s rest.
- Establish consistent sleep and wake up times – get into a rhythm with a consistent sleep schedule. Acclimate to a new time zone ahead of time by including weekends into this routine.
- Get seven to nine hours of sleep – adults need on average between seven and nine hours and it is best to get your rest in one uninterrupted cycle.
- Create a bedtime routine – this will help prepare your body and mind by adopting a routine or ritual before bed each night. Whether it involves soaking in a hot bath or reading a book, a regular pre-bed activity wil prepare you for an easy transition into dream-land
- Disconnect – aim to end the use of electronic devices at least an hour before heading to bed. Turn off the TV, laptop etc and put your phone to sleep. Electronic use stimulates the brain and makes it harder to attain sleep, even if you are physically fatigued.
- Create an environment conducive to sleep – reduce any artificial light in the room to a minimum, set air-conditioning to a neutral and comfortable temperature en try to maintain a noise-free environment. Try to get the mattress and pillow that best suits your needs for optimal sleep comfort.
- Use the bedroom for sleep and only sleep – this will help your brain associate the environment with rest. Try to avoid using your bedroom for anything else – exercising, watching TV, reading etc.
- Schedule your meals – plan to finish your last meal three hours ahead of your normal bedtime to give your body enough time to digest the meal and stabilize your energy levels.
- Eat healthy foods – sugary foods cause energy spikes and throw your body’s energy levels off course. Eat a meal balanced with carbohydrates and proteins to prolong your fullness and avoid overeating. Avoid stimulants and depressants like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.
- Exercise – this helps the body consume excess energy. Studies have shown that those who exercise frequently achieve greater quality sleep and need less of it.
- Schedule flights that align with sleep – it is easier to fall asleep on a flight departing at 9 or 10pm than one leaving at 6pm, as it will be much closer to the time at which your body expects to go to sleep. Try to take advantage of airline schedules.