Tuesday, January 24, 2012

10 Sleep Hacks for the Avid Traveler

On a train, in the rain. When on planes, energy wanes. Whether you're a business traveler, a posh international jetsetter, or a college kid with dreadlocks and a ratty old backpack, travel can be both stressful and fun. No matter your modus operandi for seeing the world, one of the key elements to successful travel is the inclusion of sound and restful sleep. Before you complain about not having the time for a decent doze, consider these 10 sleep hacks, both digital and analog, especially tailored to the avid traveler. In the words of William Wordsworth, "rest and be thankful."

  1. Downers

    Maybe not the net healthiest way for long-term sleeping problems, but popping pills certainly can work wonders when you're on the road. Be they hard-core narcotics, over-the-counter sleep aids, or herbal remedies like melatonin, a pharmaceutical sleep aid is sometimes the only thing that you have access to on-the-go. Avoid using both uppers to promote wakefulness and downers to help you sleep, and avoid relying on these methods for more than a few days at a time.

  2. Caffeine Nap

    If you're a world traveler, or even just a business one, it's highly likely that you drink coffee or tea at least once per day. Consider, then, the caffeine nap. Down a cup of coffee in the afternoon and take a 20 minute nap as a chaser. Caffeine takes about 30 minutes to activate in your body, and you should wake after a cat nap with a burst of energy and euphoria. Be sure to set your alarm to wake you, just for extra insurance, and enjoy increased productivity and decision-making capabilities.

  3. Neck Pillow

    For the less pharmaceutically inclined traveler who is often using public transportation (planes, trains) for your travel or commutes, try employing the use of a neck pillow. Relieving neck pressure can help induce better quality sleep, meaning better rest and increased energy and alertness upon waking. Breathable memory foam and buckwheat are popular materials; just about anything is better than an airplane pillow or crumpled-up jacket.

  4. Pzizz

    The Pzizz Energizer is an audio engine computer program that produces frequencies meant to induce sleep for a limited amount of time. Producing unique modules every time you rest, Pzizz can aid in all sleep types — from a power nap to the deepest of sleeps. Originally a desktop application that is now available on mobile devices, Pzizz is priced between $5 and $6.

  5. Lay Off the Sugar and Carbs

    Beginning your day with refined or processed sugars and complex carbohydrates facilitates an afternoon crash. Especially if you've been indulging heavily during your travels, decide against a carb-infused or highly sugary breakfast in the morning. You will be less likely to experience a sloth-inducing sugar crash, as well as enjoying more restful sleep, even if all you have the time for is a disco nap.
    Pro Tip: To stimulate your adrenal glands upon waking, drink a large glass of water mixed with a teaspoon of sea salt.

  6. Hydrate

    Water, as much as oxygen, is the stuff of life. To avoid jetlag and interrupted sleep during your travels, make sure that you begin and remain well-hydrated throughout commutes. Hydration cures many ills, and can be an immeasurably important, oft-overlooked tool in the fight for restful sleep.

  7. Alternate Nostril Breathing

    When attempting to induce your pre-dreamland calmness, try the ancient practice of alternate nostril breathing. Simply placing one knuckle over your left nostril, taking several deep breaths through your right nostril, then reversing, can psychologically prompt you to induce your neurological pre-sleep routine.
    Pro Tip:Don't try this at the office.

  8. Starve Yourself and Don't Sleep

    You can't make this stuff up. A study from Harvard Medical School suggests that, scientifically, the best thing that you can do to reset your internal sleep clock to a new time zone is to remain awake for 12 to 16 hours, while also abstaining from food in the hours leading up to this sleep fast. Remember that daylight resets you, so make sure to do this on a day when you can get some sun. Refrain also from caffeine, alcohol, and copious use of tobacco during this time. Bonus: the extra wakefulness is sure to make you so tired, that you'll be sleeping like a baby before you can say "jet lag."

  9. Dress for (Sleep) Success

    The businesswoman in the three-piece wool suit is sleeping better than you are in your most comfortable sweatpants. Why? Temperature. Your body's temperature has much to do with your quality of sleep. Your polyester sweatpants and unbreathable fabrics, comfortable though they may be, are hurting you, not helping. Take off your socks and shoes to expose (well-washed, please) feet on an airplane; eschew the scratchy blankets for which some airlines are charging upwards of $10. Opt for a jacketless rest in a business suit, rather than a track one, and you'll be asleep in no time flat.

  10. Practice Polyphasic Sleep

    A mainstay of the professional sleephacker's wheelhouse, polyphasic sleep is a method in which one forgoes most or all of the night's sleep, or "core hours," in exchange for a series of power naps throughout the day. This alternative resting method, of which there are many incarnations, has been practiced for ages, and the science does back it up. It can improve brain function, energy levels, and provide more time to party from Bangladesh to Bangalore.

Taken From Best Online Colleges

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