It doesn't matter how luxurious the pillows are or even how tired you may be, sleeping in a strange bed can be disruptive to your zzz's and wreck your decision-making and productivity the next day.
Sleep deprivation affects 25% of the population. Short Sleepers, those who sleep less than 6 hours a night, are at risk for infection, insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, hormone imbalance and mood disorders. When we're sleeping, we are resting, repairing our bodies and assimilating the information we learned that day.
Proper sleep is a weight management tool. It regulates our desire for high-calorie foods and ensures an adequate release of hormones for appetite control and metabolism.
When we travel, we have to prioritize our sleep. We aren't on vacation. The cumulative effects of poor quality or deficient sleep add up to serious mood, health and focus problems.
Here are my secrets to sleeping more soundly, even when the bed isn't yours.
Avoid screen time on your phone or laptop within at least an hour of bed. Yeah, yeah….you might get a major email at 10:00 pm. What are you going to do about it? Are you going to start that project right then? Ninety-five percent of people who don't get a good night's sleep use a computer or phone within an hour of bed. Start with 30 minutes and work your way to an hour.
Block the rays. Blue rays from our tablets, phones and computers disrupt and suppress the hormone melatonin, which controls metabolism, body temperature, heart rate, and circadian rhythm. Blue rays are related to an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity and heart disease. Some people take supplemental melatonin when they travel, but be warned….it can have a Goldilocks effect, too much, and it will actually keep you awake! It also doesn't work for everyone. It's much better to enhance your own melatonin naturally.
Another blue ray blocking trick is to install Flux on your computer www.justgetflux.com. It warms the screen when the sun goes down and brightens it when the sun rises. Lastly, if you must look at those rays, travel with Blue Blocker glasses. I bought mine cheap online and wear them at home or while traveling if I'm watching TV or working at night.
Drown out the noise by using sound. Whether it's a hotel or a friend's house, we're going to hear something unfamiliar. We are so used to the sounds we hear at home, that new sounds take almost two weeks to become familiar. Turn on the hotel fan to a continuous setting or use a white noise app on your phone. I put my phone in airplane mode and use white noise, ocean waves or rain as my background sound. If you need to wear headphones, try headphones specifically made for sleeping, like Sleepphones. I don't even notice mine is on.
Sleeping in a room that is completely dark is ideal. However, the lights from the microwave, the nightlight in the bathroom, and the street lamp shining in between the curtains can be challenging. To block the light at the bottom of the door to the hallway, use a rolled up towel. To clip your curtains closed, use a presentation binder clip from your briefcase or a hair clip. My favorite eye mask is a Dream Essentials Contoured Sleep Mask. It doesn't lay flat against my face, and it's adjustable in size.
Nobody wants to sleep like a baby and get up every few hours. Sleep deep like a bear in hibernation, just make sure you set that alarm.