Jet Lag and Sleep

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  • at a destination, avoid heavy meals (a snack—not chocolate—is okay).
  • Avoid any heavy exercise close to bedtime. (Light exercise earlier in the day is fine.)
  • Bring earplugs and blindfolds to help dampen noise and block out unwanted light while sleeping.
  • Try to get outside in the sunlight whenever possible. Daylight is a powerful stimulant for regulating the biological clock. (Staying indoors worsens jet lag.)
  • Contrary to popular belief, the type of foods we eat have no effect on minimizing jet lag.

According to experts, stress or the potential for stress is another problem that can lead to sleeplessness. Two common travel related stress conditions are the "First Night Effect" and the "On-Call Effect." The first condition occurs when trying to sleep in a new or unfamiliar environment. The second is caused by the nagging worry that something just might wake you up, such as the possibility of a phone ringing, hallway noise or another disruption.

Try these tips on you next trip to help avoid travel-related stress and subsequent sleeplessness.

  • Bring elements or objects from home like a picture of the family, favorite pillow, blanket or even a coffee mug) to ease the feeling of being in a new environment.
  • Check with the hotel to see if voice mail services are available to guests. Then, whenever possible, have your calls handled by the service.
  • Check your room for potential sleep disturbances that may be avoided; e.g., light shining through the drapes, unwanted in-room noise, etc.
  • Request two wake-up calls in case you miss the first one.

SLEEP ENVIRONMENT:

The most common environmental elements affecting sleep are noise, sleep surface, temperature or climate, and altitude. Your age and gender also play a part in determining the level of sleep disturbance caused by these factors. One study found that women are more easily awakened than men by sonic booms and aircraft noise, while other research indicates that men may be more noise sensitive. Children are generally insensitive to extreme noise levels. However, this high threshold declines with age.

  • Noise

    We have all experienced that dripping faucet, the barking dog or that blaring