Leading sleep specialist Dr Guy Meadows presents Sleep School on ITV’s Daybreak program. He talks to Peter Moore about the ways travellers can ensure good quality sleep every night while they're on the road.
Is there anything people should do before they start travelling?
Well, getting everything organised the day before your departure can help to calm a racing mind and promote a better night’s sleep. Exercising before going on a long flight can also promote sleep and relieve travel anxiety.
What are the best ways to limit the effect of jet lag?
Jet lag occurs when you fly across many time zones leading to the confusion between your internal body clock and the local time. It is worse when you travel eastwards because you lose time. The best way to prepare your body clock is by going to bed and getting up an hour earlier a few days prior to travelling east. This means that when you arrive at your destination your body clock will already be synced to the local time.
It's also a good idea to set your watch to the local time when you get on the plane to start preparing your brain for the time change.
Should I try to sleep on the plane?
If you are arriving at your destination in the afternoon or evening, you should try to stay awake on the plane so that you are ready for the local bedtime on landing.
Alternatively, if you are arriving in the morning, aim to sleep on the plane to be ready for the day ahead.
If you find sleeping on planes a challenge then come prepared with your own ear plugs, eye mask, neck rest, comfortable clothes and blanket. The more comfortable you can be the greater chance of you actually sleeping.
I guess I should resist the temptation to knock myself out with complimentary alcoholic beverages?
The healthier you can be on your flight, the happier your body will be and the more energy you will have when you arrive. Stay hydrated, eat healthy food options, limit caffeine and alcohol, do regular stretches, get up and walk about and wear comfortable clothing.
Any tips on arrival?
Adjust your body clock to the local time zone by immediately getting out into the sunlight, eating, socialising and sleeping all at the local time.
What if I can't sleep?
If sleep does not come straight away, seek solace in the beneficial rest that you get from simply lying in bed calm and relaxed. Take a moment to notice the comfort of your bed, the warmth of your body, the movement of your breath and the gentle goings on of your mind.
Are there any other techniques I can use if I'm still having problems nodding off?
Scanning your body from head to toe is a great way to manage travel anxiety. Make time to describe every detail of your body in an objective manner such as “I can feel my toes touching the floor, the beat of my heart, the seat on my back, the movement of my breath and so on”. When your thinking mind starts to race with worries, gently acknowledge it and let it go by returning back to your body.
Dr. Guy Meadows will be at La Source in Grenada from the 03 – 10 June 2012 with his Sleep School. Kuoni are offering an all-inclusive package to La Source that includes Dr Meadows sessions at no extra cost. For more details, visit the Kuoni website.
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