3 Ways to Adjust to a New Sleep Schedule After Traveling
Maybe you’ve been jet setting all over the world for work purposes. Or maybe you’ve been fulfilling your wanderlust with an extended backpacking adventure. Either way, it’s going to be pretty hard to settle into a sleep routine when you eventually return home.
And whether it’s been business meetings or beach parties robbing you of slumber when away, chances are you feel far from rested when you get back. Almost like you could do with a holiday.
If you’re sleep-deprived, it shows. No matter how great your tan is, or how skilled you are at hiding dark circles. You might feel lethargic, irritable and unproductive. You can’t get through the morning without at least 2 coffees and lunchtime sees you reaching for the most sugary stuff you can find. The result? A serious dose of the holiday blues that can affect your health, your career and your relationships.
Fear not, weary traveller – because I’ve got a few quick tricks to help you readjust, and get a sounder sleep, when your trip has come to an end.
1. Stay awake ’til bedtime
While it’s very, very tempting to crawl into bed as soon as you get back from the airport, it might be only 5pm! And if you fall asleep then, you’ll probably wake up at 2am, hungry for breakfast and biding your time until you can finally get up. The result being that your sleep pattern is completely messed up; you’re exhausted during the daytime and wired when you’re meant to be settling down.
If your flight lands in the early morning, well OK then – a little nap can’t hurt. Just avoid conking out for 10 straight hours and drag yourself out of bed until it’s a more reasonable hour to turn in.
In general though, try and stay awake for the whole day if you can. Go to bed earlier than usual if you must and maybe give yourself a little lie-in…but the sooner you fall into your old sleep routine the faster you’ll recover from your travels.
2. Take it easy with the “welcome home”
Of course, the opposite to wanting to fall into bed as soon as you land is to go out and party! There’ll be friends you haven’t seen, stories to be shared, laughs to be had. You may have been away for months, or even years, and are dying to meet up with the gang right off the plane.
Trust me on this, because I’ve been there – it pays to lie low for at least a day when you land. Having gone straight from the airport to an all-day street party, and been jet-lagged for a week afterwards, I know what I’m talking about!
This is especially important if say, you land on a Saturday and are due back in work on the Monday. Instead of going wild that weekend, take it easy, get plenty of rest and you’ll be fully on form to catch up with your colleagues. Then of course, by all means, celebrate your homecoming on Friday night!
3. Keep vitamined up
One of the most annoying things about coming back from holidays, apart from facing the daily grind again, is that we often get sick right away. A combination of air con, cabin pressure and a petri dish of germs on the plane doesn’t help. Nor does the shift between hot and cold climates or the sundowners to which you grew so accustomed.
Nope, the sad truth is that sometimes you might feel worse after your holiday than you did beforehand. And when you’re sick, sleep doesn’t come easily. Instead, you’re up half the night hacking and coughing, with a stuffed-up nose that makes your snores keep your poor partner up with you.
To avoid the curse of the post-holiday flu – and subsequent blues – stay hydrated on your flight, get as much sleep as you can and take extra effort to look after yourself in the days after you land. Dose up on plenty of Vitamin C with lots of orange juice, Vitamin D and B12 with dairy products and keep those iron levels high with dark leafy greens or red meat. With your defences raised in this way, your immune system will be in a better position to fight off any pesky bugs and you’ll have a much healthier homecoming as a result.
Try these tips after your next trip and see what a difference they can make! If you need any more advice on sleep-related stuff, check out The Sleep Advisor website. From advice on finding the best way to sleep to reviews on what you can sleep on, their articles can help you get a sounder slumber – both at home and abroad.
In the meantime, may you have safe and wonderful travels…and a great night’s sleep, every night!