I fly interstate, for the day, on average once a week and I know how taxing this can be on my body and mind. If you fly regularly, it’s so important to be mindful of the pressures that flying can have on your health. There are three main pillars to good health: diet, exercise and of course good quality sleep. Of these three, sleep is the most valuable. Unfortunately, with our fast paced lives, all too often we don’t regard sleep as being as important as it should be and it is usually the first thing to be cut out of our day. Think of sleep as the golden thread that ties our wellbeing together and remember that most of us need a minimum of eight hours ‘beauty sleep’ each night.
Here are some commonsense sleep strategies for maximum health, beauty and vitality!
1. Find an enjoyable way to reduce stress in your life.
It goes without saying that when you are stressed mentally, you will find it harder to switch off and get good quality night’s sleep. When you have a calm and balanced mind sleep comes quickly and easily and is less disturbed throughout the night.
2. Exercise to stay fit.
Exercising a minimum 2-3 times per week will help you sleep at night. Remember not to exercise in the 3-4 hours before bedtime as this can disturb your sleep.
3. Always stay hydrated.
As we all know flying is very dehydrating. So make drinking an appropriate amount of water a priority to keep your body clock in balance.
4. Eat a proper and healthy diet.
A balanced diet aiming for at least five half-cup serves of veggies and two serves of fruit per day is helpful. Aim to leave a little bit of space in your tummy after every meal to stay trim and sleep well.
5. Stop smoking.
You’ve read it on the packets – smoking damages your health and it will also affect the quality of your sleep.
6. Reduce caffeine intake.
If you are sensitive to caffeine it’s probably best to have your espresso before lunch and for everyone limit your intake to two coffees a day.
7. Avoid alcohol near bedtime.
In moderation alcohol is fine but try to avoid drinking too close to bed as this can disturb your sleep. A hangover is compounded by, and is often due to, a previous night’s poor quality sleep.
8. Take a hot bath before bedtime.
When your body temperature raises in the bath and falls again afterwards, this sends sleepy messages to your brain.
9. Make your bedroom your sanctuary.
Take the TV out of your room and turn your mobile phone off. Next try lighting candles, aromatherapy, dimming the lights or anything else that relaxes you to calm your mind before drifting into a solid night’s rest.
10. Establish a bedtime ritual.
If possible, follow the same ritual each night including trying to go to bed at the same time. This tells your body it’s time to switch off for the day.
11. Clear your mind at bedtime.
What is in the past is gone and what is in the future has not yet arrived. Stay in the moment and value your quiet time.
12. Avoid having pets in the bedroom.
Pets have their own sleep habits and rhythms that may not be compatible to yours. It’s best to keep them outside your sanctuary.
13. Invest in a good quality bedding.
On average we sleep 24 years over a lifetime. Buy the very best mattress, pillows and bed linen that you can afford. Make going to bed a pleasure, as consistent good rest will serve you well throughout your life.
14. Try some bedtime relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga.
Experiment and find out what works for you. Meditation or yoga can clear the mind and there are even some very light yoga positions, like the ‘half-tortoise pose’ or ‘legs up the wall’, that are great for curing insomnia and inducing sleep!
15. Don’t try too hard to get to sleep.
Take the struggle out of it. If you are having troubles, and counting sheep doesn’t work, you’re best to get up, relax and try again later.
16. Limit your time in bed.
Your bed is your sanctuary, so keep it for (mostly) sleeping.
17. Learn to prioritise sleep.
Sleep is not a luxury, it is a necessity. If you can’t change your wake up time you may need to commit to getting to bed earlier to get a solid eight hours.
18. Consider having separate sets of sheets if sharing.
On average, we turn 50-60 times a night. If sleeping with a partner this may disturb your sleep cycle.
19. If necessary, consult a sleep specialist.
MBF Health recently found that a massive 51% of Australians are sleep deprived or have a serious sleep disorder. Most people don’t realise there are specialists that can help. Getting to sleep is a common problem so if it is causing you concern consult a professional.
20. Take a 20-minute power nap.
I use the pzizz energising software for napping during the day. Nothing gets me disconnected, and rejuvenated, faster. A nap, providing you limit it to 20 minutes, will give you up to three hours of renewed energy and improve your sleep at night!