Posted by: Brigitte Diem-Guy, VP Sales & Marketing, SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts
You travelled on a packed plane for 8 hours. It’s now 3 am and you are wide awake. You are staring at the ceiling in your hotel room and you’re about to lose it as you imagine yourself in a zombie-like state giving that important sales presentation in about 7 hours. Experts call this nuisance: ‘Transient Insomnia’. We road warriors call it simply: Jet Lag.
Because sleep is when the body and especially the brain regenerate and repair themselves, sleeplessness or insomnia has been identified as a factor in an endless list of afflictions, including hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, memory loss, reduced immunity and mood swings. Not to mention the impairment of memory, self-expression and the ability to read emotions in others (remember: the important sales presentation…you’re doomed!). Oh, and let’s not forget about a hundred thousand motor-vehicle accidents a year (note to yourself: take a taxi to the sales presentation).
Experts say that all of these effects are short term so you should return to your normal sleep once they’ve passed. The best thing to do with transient insomnia is to keep a calm, steady sleep routine and not to worry about getting to sleep. Really? How do we do that if we have to get on another plane for 8 more hours, crossing 3 more time zones, on back-to-back trips?
Try some of these tips the next time you fly:
Reset your body clock before you fly
Shift your bedtime and gradually adjust your sleep times towards those at your destination starting three days before your trip.
Limit your caffeine intake 3 days prior and on the day of travel.
Eat more lightly before and during your flight: Salads, soups, fresh or dried fruit, nuts and yoghurt are great choices.
Drink lots of water and avoid alcohol
Before, during, and after your flight, drink lots of water. Experts recommend that you drink at least two 8-ounce glasses just before departure and 1 liter for every hour you spend in the air. Alcohol has a stimulating effect. Try herbal teas instead such as Chamomile. When you arrive, switch to Peppermint tea. It can reduce daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
West is best
Eastbound travel produces the worst type of jet lag because you lose time across zones. When booking a flight, try to also arrive to coincide with bed time.
Change your watch
Change your watch to local time at your destination as soon as you board your flight.
At the hotel:
Choose your hotel wisely
Trying to fall asleep in a relaxing environment without noise or too much light coming into the room is much easier. Most of our SilverBirch Hotels feature black-out drapes and soundproof windows.
Comfy mattress and high quality bedding
The basics of good sleep hygiene include a good-quality mattress and pillows. Great hotels know that a good night’s sleep is important and guarantees a superior guest experience. Our SilverBirch Bedding Package found in our hotels features a high quality mattress, 300 thread count linens and gel fiber duvet and pillows, making you “sleep like a baby”.
Studies have found that the optimal temperature for sleep is quite cool, around 60 – 68 degrees Fahrenheit or 16 – 20 degrees Celsius. Ensure that your hotel room has individual temperature controls and the heating/cooling unit is quiet.
Pen and paper
I keep a pen and paper next to my bed just in case a to-do-list makes me toss and turn. Writing it down helps my mind relax.
You don’t need to spend hours in the gym – just a simple 20 minute brisk walk, discovering your destination, is all it takes to help you relax and fall asleep at night.
Still sleepless? Don’t ‘lose’ it: Dim the lights, drink a glass of warm milk and read a book until you doze off…
Do you have a tip to fight jet lag? In what hotel did you get the best sleep? What could hotels do better in helping you get a restful night?
Share your comments below…