By: Bridget Barnett
Yes – you can get the best sleep of your life while you are 30,000 feet above sea level or 10,000 miles from home! Here, seasoned Australian sleep specialist and coach Olivia Arezzolo shares five simple, science-based tips to ensure you catch some solid shut-eye (sans heavy sleeping pills) while travelling long-haul.
1. Minimise your exposure to light“The lighting conditions are extremely bright at airports and on aeroplanes, which lessens the production of melatonin – the hormone that makes you relaxed and sleepy. The suppression of your hormones lasts 90 minutes so, to help you sleep, try blocking out that light for 90 minutes beforehand. This might mean wearing sunglasses at the airport and an eye mask or blue-light-blocking glasses on your flight,” shares Olivia.
2. Prep according to your time zone“Eat and sleep according to the time zone you are travelling to. For example, if you are travelling somewhere that is six hours in front, delay your sleeping and eating for six hours. By adjusting to your time zone before you land, you will help your body adjust and minimise jetlag because instead of having the shift over one night, you potentially have it over a couple of nights.”
3. Choose your food wisely“When it comes to pre-travel meals or plane food, having a lighter option is recommended. Anything with oil, fat or sugar will digest slowly in the body and you will struggle to get to sleep as a result. Instead of eating junk food or plane food, take your own healthy meal. In airports you’ll usually find healthier options available, like salads or wraps, too.”
4. Pack these sleep supplements“There is a sleep supplement I recommend from Performance Lab® that contains tart cherry which is a natural melatonin. It also contains magnesium, which helps relaxes your muscles and lessen cramping, aches and pains – all which will often keep you awake. You want to take these supplements about 20 minutes before you go to sleep.”
5. Move as much as possible“When you are in the airport before a flight, walk around or do lunges or swats – it might look silly but it is important to have your body moving before it’s going to be sitting for a long period of time. It helps your body register that it’s time to sleep and will get your ready for those z’s.”