The getaway trip is great – it’s an opportunity to go somewhere exotic, oftentimes with people you care about, and hopefully turn off the myriad of electronic devices that clutter our lives. That being said, a huge proportion of us suffer from poor sleep – and for some reason it tends to be worse while we are traveling on what is supposedly our restful vacation! The last thing we want is for you to spend your vacation in that half-awake, dumbfounded state resulting from not enough, or too little high quality, sleep. Here’s how to make sure that doesn’t happen to you on your summer getaway.
Rule 1: Force yourself onto the right timezone.
The first mistake many people make is by allowing themselves an ‘adjustment’ nap on their first day in a new timezone. All this does is set oneself up for jetlag for the rest of your hard earned vacation. Instead, force yourself to stay up until what would be an acceptable time to go to bed in the new timezone (that’s around 10 PM in our book), get twelve hours of well deserved sleep and wake up the following day ready to hit the ground running.
Rule 2: Request specific pillows.
Many hotels have a handful of different pillow types, but few will ever tell you this. Pillows can have a huge impact on your sleep quality depending upon whether you are a stomach, back or side sleeper. Ask your hotel if they have alternatives and find one that best matches what you like (firm, medium or soft is a standard variety).
Rule 3: Make sure you get some exercise…
As we all know, exercise tires you out and as a result, you feel tired. If you’re someone who suddenly goes from plenty of activity to none, it should come as no surprise that your body, which has grown accustomed to those long morning runs, is going to have a lot of spare energy come time to go to bed. Find a way to keep active while on your getaway.
Rule 4: …and frontload your exercise activities into the start of the day.
However, what is just as important is when you exercise. Exercise causes spikes in cortisol, the same hormone that is released when the body is stressed. Cortisol and melatonin, the sleep hormone, have an inverse relationship – as cortisol rises melatonin diminishes. Thus, when you exercise in the evening or even late afternoon you’re causing a cortisol spike that can directly impact the quality of your sleep. Therefore, while exercise is almost always a good thing, if you’re focused on a good night’s sleep. make sure to get in your exercise early in the day and don’t be afraid to skip that late night work-out upon occasion for the sake of improving your sleep (and then just wake up early instead). Also, try to kick the wine before nine.
Rule 5: Abandon those devices.
This is a simple one: you are on vacation, there is no reason you should be on your phone for an hour before bed. Get your emails done after your morning workout.
Rule 6: Sleep deprivation is real. And cumulative.
If you have not gotten enough sleep for several nights in a row, your mood and behavior will certainly suffer for it. Do not think you can starve your body of the sleep it so desperately needs for days on end and then in one night make up for all of it. We get it, you’re on vacation and want to make the best of it, but don’t eschew sleep at the risk of your enjoyment of the rest of it. Instead cut out the inevitable wasted time we all have and get more out of your waking hours.
One thing we did not touch upon is the importance of diet in achieving balanced sleep. Any nutritional imbalances can result in sub optimal sleep. To learn more about the customized nutritional solutions that WellPath provides specifically designed around your goals and needs click here.