Flight delays, time changes, and being in unknown cities are just some of the stressors that go into traveling for work. When you add in jam-packed days of meetings and client dinners that go late into the evenings, a restful night’s sleep may seem too hard to achieve. Not to mention, it’s never easy to fall asleep in an unfamiliar place—a fact that’s actually backed by science: Turns out that half of your brain stays in alert-mode when sleeping in an unfamiliar place, especially on the first night, making it harder to get a solid night’s sleep.
So how do you achieve the slumber you need on an important work trip when you’re dealing with all this uncertainty in your schedule? Try these tips:
Pack for comfort: Don’t underestimate comfortable bedtime clothes. If you have a favorite pair of jammies you regularly wear, make sure you have them in tow so you feel right at home. Snuggling up in the hotel robe is always a good idea too.
Give yourself a curfew: Allot plenty of time for rest by giving yourself a bedtime. Even if you have a dinner meeting or night out with coworkers planned, set an end-time before the night even begins so you know when it’s time to pack it in. Remind yourself how important it is to get the National Institute of Health’s suggested seven to eight hours of sleep for the busy day ahead. Setting a Bedtime Reminder in your Fitbit app can also help.
Fit in a workout: Being on the road doesn’t mean you need to throw away your fitness routine. Scope out the hotel gym, go on a morning jog, or even turn on a Fitbit Coach workout video right in your room. If you make time to be active during the day, you’ll help your chances of sleeping better at night. In fact, a Sleep in America poll showed those who exercise are more likely to say, “I had a good night’s sleep” on both work nights and non-work nights. The data showed that exercise is not only good for sleep, but that those who classify themselves as vigorous exercisers generally have the best sleep (non-exercisers report having the worst sleep).
Keep screen time to a minimum: Be cognizant about how much screen time you’re getting before bed, especially since blue light emitted by certain devices has been shown to suppress sleep-inducing hormones. If you like reading before bedtime, make sure to pack a physical book with you so it’s easy on the eyes.
Stay cool: The right temperature is key to getting a good night’s sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that you keep your room at a snuggly 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit, since studies show that a room that’s too hot can lead to more wakefulness and less deep sleep.
Be proactive: If you’re a light sleeper, bring some earplugs. If you’re used to a pitch-black bedroom, pack an eye mask (those hotel blackout shades can be hit or miss). Set yourself up for a good night’s sleep so you get the rest you need to shine.
Looking to step it up? Learn how Fitbit Health Solutions can help your company develop a successful wellness program, boost employee health and happiness, and improve the bottom line.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.