Frequent travel and sleep

Posted 1 Oct 2013 at 9:05 AM
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  • Sleepio Member

    • 1 comments
    • 0 helped
    Session 2

    I moved to a new city temporarily for work and will be moving again in a month. I haven't remained in the same place for more than a couple months at a time and am having a difficult time getting into a sleep routine and feeling comfortable in my living accommodations. Any suggestions for adapting to all this travel?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I've no idea, but I have to travel a lot for work, so I stay in hotels quite often. Colleagues have no problems with sleeping in a hotel (they say they sleep as soon as they hit the pillow). I hope this course will work for hotels too (how to go to another room if you're awake in a hotel room?)

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    In a few weeks i will be traveling 4 timezones to the west, then I;ll stay there for a few weeks and then travel 4 timezones back to the east. (but total Flight time is 15 hours!)

    Is there a good strategy to ensure I can quickly adjust to the timezone differences, without getting true insomnia again?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi vsj,

    I have read one expert's reply to a similar question indicating one could simply switch to the new time zone upon arrival. If a short nap is needed when you arrive, fine but then eat at the regular meal times and go to bed and get up according to your sleep window. I have read some members advise to gradually shift your SW prior to travel, over a few days. You'd have to decided what would work best for you.

    I have travelled overseas several times to the East, a 5 hour difference, and usually make the switch immediately. Sometimes I have a short nap on arrival, 30 minutes or so, as I would have travelled overnight with little sleep. I don't usually get to bed right at the new bedtime as it feels more like 7 pm and I'm not tired so it's probably more like 2 am. I do however make myself get up at my usual time, e.g. 8 am (which my body tells me feels like 3 am), regardless of the time I got into bed. It's easier the second night and gradually I feel fine. It's a bit harder making the adjustment after returning home. It is very easy to get up in the morning but the fatigue hits early in the evening and it is a struggle to stay up til my SW so I stay up as late as possible and gradually that becomes later each evening. It probably takes about a week for the fatigue to dissipate. For you, travelling to the West, it would probably be a bit harder on arrival and easier on your return home, at least that's my experience. I'll actually be travelling West in a week, a 3 hour difference, and I plan to make the switch immediately, staying up as close as I can to my SW bedtime (I'll be very tired) and getting up at my SW although in reality that might be a bit earlier than usual. Then 3 weeks later, I get to do the reverse!

    Hope this helps.

    anniem

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    VSJ has a good point about what to do when you are in a hotel room on travel. One room is tough, but that's what it is when you are in a hotel. We can go elsewhere or we can adjust our way of thinking about this. What say others?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I just completed a long trip (from East Coast of USA to Israel). I had completed the Sleepio Course just a couple of weeks before the trip and have been sleeping well since then. I have not yet discovered how far my sleep window will expand, but I think that I am approaching that level.

    Outward fight left around midnight and arrived approx 5:00 pm local time (7-hour time difference, 10 hr fight). I decided that my bet approach for this was to avoid sleeping on the plane. So, I focused on watching the free in-flight films. Sure, I dozed off a few times, and probably slept about ON hour total, but I arrived to my destination quite tired. By the time that I got to the hotel, at dinner, and took a stroll, it was after 9:00 pm. I took a melatonin and an ambien and went to bed, exhausted. Slept through the night until about 7:00 am (a little less than my regular amount of sleep and half of my sleep deficit). Took a long morning walk on the beach to get myself acclimated to the local schedule. I was a little tired during the day, but was able to fully enjoy it. And, we were completely on the local schedule from day one. I think that my building up the sleep pressure (and, of course, the sleep medication) were key to my quick adjustment. I took a sleeping pill the second night to make sure that I did not get up too early, and after that, I skipped them.

    We were in Israel for 11 nights, and I slept very well overall. I was really pleased by this, because I have had real troubles sleeping while traveling in the past. We stayed in 5 different places during the course of the trip, and a few of them required me to sleep in beds that I thought might be trouble, but all was ok. There was perhaps only one day where I woke up too early.

    A few things that I did that I thinked helped. We spent MUCH time outside. We also did quite a bit of walking. Although I did drink, I avoided drinking to excess. I avoided caffeine after late afternoon, and I tried not to eat too much just before bed. In short, I made some allowances for the fact that I was away from home and was on vacation and needed to take other peoples' wishes into account, but my sleep needs were also a part of the equation.

    The return trip also left about midnight and it got us back at about 4:00 am local time (heading East, but this 11 hour flight). Like the first flight, I boarded tired and ready for sleep – but because I was going to be arriving at morning, local time, rather than early evening local time, the plan this time was to sleep as much as I could. Like the first flight, they served a meal right after take-off, and then they dimmed the cabin lights. I figured that they would be getting everyone up about 3:00 am Eastern time, so I forced myself to stay up until about 6 pm Eastern time (which was about 3:00 am Israeli time). Again, I took an ambien (but not a Melatonin – I had accidentally packed that in my checked bag). I managed about 3-4 hours sleep, mostly restless, in part because I did not have my CPAP machine and in part because of all of the noise and jockeying in the plane (I had an aisle seat).

    I arrived sufficiently refreshed to manage the 2 hour drive back home from the airport. I should have gotten outside during the day, but just felt like crap, and I spent much of the day on the couch watching television. I tried to keep from dozing off, but probably got at least an hour sleep on that couch. I nice walk would have been so much better! Anyway, I went to bed at 9:00 pm (which is 4:00 am Israeli time). Took an ambien and melatonin. I feel asleep right away, woke up only once for less than 5 minutes, and woke up for final time at 5:00 pm. It is a beautiful morning, and I'll be taking a walk shortly. I'll be resuming my regular sleep window time tonight and trying it without any medications.

    Overall, I think that my strategy of avoiding sleep until an appropriate local bed-time was a good one, and I feel happy that these techniques helped me to minimize sleep troubles during International travel.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 1

    I'm noticing that it takes me longer and longer to recover from jet lag. I could travel for one week and spend the next 2 or 3 weeks trying to get back on my “normal” sleep schedule. This discussion is about how to minimize the effects of jet lag. What has worked for you, what hasn't, etc.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi, I'm living in California now, but travel frequently to China (15 hour time difference) for work. At busy times, I have hit a cadence of 2 weeks in the US, 2 weeks in China, back and forth for a few months.

    My general sleep issues (insomnia, sleep apnea), get exponentially worse during the jet lag period that can last almost a week each way. The first 2-3 nights in China I will only get 2-3 hours of sleep per night, The next 2-3 may be longer, but with frequent wakings. I try not to rely on sleep pills, but I will usually take an Ambien 1 or 2 nights in each direction to help reset myself.

    Has anyone found any tried and true tricks or approaches to getting through severe jet lag (something more than 2-3 hours time shift) more quickly and with minimal days of zombie-like fogginess? I've done a fair share of Google research on this topic, but not recently. Anything based on science, as this program seems to be?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I am new to sleepio, having just started the program. I live in America and have to travel to Europe for a week long trip of business.

    Does anyone know how this effects the sleepio program. I probably won't sleep on the flight over and just try to stay up through the next evening.

    Currently I can only get to sleep if I am totally exhausted and have an ambien.

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