While it’s challenging to sleep when we first arrive to a new destination, here are some techniques to try.
Before you leave
Start adjusting your sleeping patterns prior to the trip. Adjust the time you go to sleep and wake up in the days before you leave, so that you’re closer to the time zone you will be going to. Even if it’s a long haul flight and can’t sleep to your destination’s schedule, getting closer by a few hours will take less time to adapt.
On the flight
Sleeping tablets may sound great, but they can leave you groggy and not ideal as you need to be awake when you land. Consider an eye mask and ear plugs to create your own private cocoon. Wearing comfortable clothes is also helpful and avoid caffeine and alcohol as they tend to stimulate the brain.
Always recline your seat to avoid pressure on the spine. Window seats are the obvious choice with less chance of being disturbed.
Before you arrive
If you are sensitive to noise, book a hotel room away from exits and elevators – which are high traffic points. Stay on a higher floor level so that you are away from the lobby and its restaurants. Pick a room at the back of the hotel – away from traffic.
Having a big dinner on your first night is not a great idea as your body has to work harder to digest them. Try to have protein with your last meal of the day – one that’s rich in tryptohan, an amino acid that’s used to make melatonin, the hormone which regulates our sleep cycles (turkey has it in high quantities, as des fish, seeds, eggs and tofu). Omega-3 fatty acids (in fish, nuts and seeds) can also help to relax the mind and muscles.
Your hotel room
Make certain to draw curtains to keep light to a minimum as it stimulates the brain. Do not use your laptop or cell phone for at least 30 minutes before going to bed as this, too, stimulates brain activity. TV screens can affect melatonin production so if possible avoid this as well. Make sure the air conditioning is set at a cool or comfortable temperature.