Travelling for work and good quality sleep rarely go hand in hand.
Sometimes no matter how tired we may feel, we simply find it very difficult to drop off when away from home.
Why should this be the case?
Well, there could be many answers to that question, anything from stress to overstimulation.
One interesting theory recent research suggests, is that our brains are simply wired to sleep poorly in unfamiliar locations for reasons of evolutionary survival.
It seems a so-called ‘lookout’ region of our brain stays on alert to provide a form of nightwatch.
While this might keep us safe from dangers, it also means we wake up groggy.
Which is a crying shame because the better rest you get the better you will be able to perform whatever task you have to put your mind to the following day. Be it a presentation, a sales pitch or even just a training course.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to improve your odds of a good night’s sleep while on the road for work.
Read on below to find out…
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Take Some Home Comforts
If you have room in your suitcase then one of the best ways to get over that feeling of sleeping in an unfamiliar location, is to simply make it more familiar.
If you have a teddy bear at home, by all means bring it.
If you use sleep aids such as white noise generator, then definitely bring that helpful little chap along with you too.
It might seem like a drastic move but if you really struggle to sleep on the road, then taking your own bedding with you will do you the world of good.
Our brain forms strong associations with familiar sensations like smell and touch.
The more recognisable the setting, the easy sleep becomes.
Make Things Smell like Home
Now I don’t mean bring a pair of your old gym socks. Well, you could!
No, I mean pack a little bottle of Lavender Essential Oil and when bedtime comes around sprinkle just a drop or two on your pillow.
Lavender has been used for millennia in natural remedies and has a well-known ability to induce a sense of tranquility, relieve stress and quiet a racing mind. What could be better for sleep I ask you?
If you get into the habit of using lavender at home too (and you should), when you sprinkle it on your hotel room pillow your brain will feel safe and secure, and you may be able to hoodwink that nightwatch section into standing down for the evening.
Plus, if you’re travelling some a little bit sunny for work, lavender is great when you get sunburn!
When travelling for work you should always remember to accessorise.
This is true whether work is putting you up in a flash five star place or you’ve bagged a great deal online and you’re paying for it on your own dime.
Two accessories in particular are worth ten times their weight in solid gold – ear plugs and an eye mask.
Yes, an eye mask, like the one your gran wears. Is it attractive? No. Does it work? Yes.
These two lightweight sleep essentials can be picked up for a couple of dollars a piece, but the impact they can have on a night’s sleep is priceless.
Hotels, of any breed, have one thing in common. They are home to some weird noises. All of which conspire to interrupt your sleep.
With a simple pair of earplugs you can instantly say goodbye to overly amorous neighbours, kids running down the corridor, rumbling water pipes, blaring televisions or the periodic beeping of air conditioners.
Donning your eye mask will mean any light pollution from threadbare curtains, ill-fitting blinds or those random blinking lights, won’t come between you and your much-needed vitamin Zzzz.
Don’t Work Where You Sleep
If you’re on the road for work you will most likely fall into the trap of using your hotel room as a makeshift office.
This will involve things like catching up on emails and making calls while lying on your bed.
A few hours of doing this and the walls will suddenly start to close in.
Your nice hotel room might start resembling more of a prison cell than somewhere to sleep.
So don’t let cabin fever kick in.
If you can, try and keep work out of your hotel room, at the very least out of bed.
Take your laptop to a coffee shop, the hotel bar or even just to the lobby. If your brain starts to associate your bed with work, it will be harder for you to drop off when bedtime comes around.
Hopefully if you follow the advice above those sleepless nights on the road will be a thing of the past and your colleagues will get to know the new, non-sleep deprived, fun you!