This holiday season, you may find yourself preparing for travel to visit loved ones. The last thing you want during this time is fatigue whether from jet lag or long drives coupled with time zone changes. Check out these tips from Eating Well that can help your experience be one of joy versus tiredness.
Get outside. Your body's 24-hour internal clock (a.k.a. circadian rhythm) can be thrown off when moving to a different time zone. However, by spending just 15 minutes out in the natural light, you can help regulate this cycle, getting back on track more quickly.
Be mindful of your sleeping space. You may not have much control over the space you are staying in when traveling, but you can still make it more sleep friendly. Some options include keeping the room dark, avoiding any exposure to blue light (such as your cell phone) one hour before sleeping, and, if you have access to doing so, setting the temperature to a comfortable level.
Try melatonin. This is a natural hormone released by our brains at night that makes us drowsy. Unfortunately, if the sunset hour is different for you during travel, you may not feel as tired and ready for sleep. Having a certified melatonin supplement on hand can be helpful.
Limit alcohol. If you are tempted by a nightcap, consider making it a mocktail, or better yet, a relaxing tea. Alcohol may relax you at first, but the effects of it on sleep outweigh this initial feeling (i.e. restless sleep, increase in snoring, delay in REM sleep, and need to get up and use the bathroom).
Stay hydrated. Believe it or not, your body loses water when asleep, and breathing is one of its the biggest dehydrators. Drinking water regularly during the day will help your sleep at night.
Avoid taking over-the-counter sleeping pills. Because most supplements are unregulated, it is hit or miss with what you may purchase to aid in your sleeping. In fact, most antihistamine-based sleep aids do not generally increase your hours of sleep. The above options are much more effective.